Emily Biechler

Where I’m From
By: Emily Biechler

I am from 27 East Liberty St.
and the red roses climbing up
the wrought iron rose arbor
my Dad made in the backyard.
I’m from the back alley-way,
with buildings so high my
baseball throws wouldn’t
reach the windows.
I’m from the creak of an
old house, and the city
traffic outside my window.
I’m from the crumbling
brick of my first home,
and my neighbors baklava.

I am from warm days and
cold nights in summer
on the beach.
I’m from my laughable and
loveable family vacations,
and the calling of the waves.

I am from chocolate chip
cookie dough in the
big, yellow bowl with
the wooden spoon
I used to lick off.
I’m from those warm,
lazy afternoons after
baking cookies.

I am from fishing,
talking, and our
political family arguments.
I’m from chocolate dessert
to Nutcracker dolls and
eating lots of Italian food
even though we are German.
I’m from the family legacy
of all the girls having
the middle name Louise.
I’m from “can-never-be-wrongs”
and “mind-your-manners.”

I am from my Dad’s favorite
sayings and the books
my Mom can’t put down.
I am from a sculptor, welder,
and artist.
I am from a reader, problem-solver,
and rationalist.
I am from the people
I care about most,
my family.



by Emily Biechler

Silence,     the beginning.
Movement,     the first word.

As the person across from me begins with “Hello!”
a smooth wave of the hand coming from the head.
I begin to relax.
Flowing into something I know so well.

                       “What happened today?”

The first sentence.

                        “Nothing. I just had school.”

I sign back.

The words flowing into the next as the conversation goes on.

Slow, flowing movements for positive words.
like soft,
curved hands in front of your body, fingers pointing up, you bring the hands downward

closing the fingers to the thumbs.
Short, jerky movements for negative words.
like no,
a quick snap of your pointer and middle fingers with your thumb.
There are so many variations for words,
But you never look at the signers hands.
You always look at their face.

When you sign you use your face, hands and body.
Nothing is left out.
You give all of yourself,
To this language that has a sign for everything,
And some of its own “words” too.

Like “Pha!”

When you are especially happy that you finished something you use “Pha!”
You put your pointer fingers at the ends of your mouth and bring them up and out.

But my favorite sign is “I Love You.”
To me it is the most simplistic sign.
Only your pinkie, pointer, and thumb are up.
It means so much, but takes little effort.
Just like love should.

That’s the thing about Sign Language.
It can express words much better than any verbal language.