Where I’m From

(based on the structure of the poem by the same name written by George Ella Lyon)


I am from Villager dishes purchased with Green Stamps, central air,

and four kids’ worth of hand-me-down toys.

I am from the zipline that leads to the rusty jungle gym

and the long iron ore driveway that leads to the big blue barn

under the sycamore trees.


I am from candy cigarettes and Wacky Pack bubblegum,

from Oscardaddy and MaryLou.

I’m from Puerto Rican Irish Basque people whom I’ve heard a lot about

and Scottish-Americans whom I haven’t.

I am from How y’all doin’? Heavens to Betsy!

and Take lady-like bites.


I am from chili, pot roast, iced coffee,

and milk-toast when you’re sick,

Coca-Cola after yard-work,

and hamburgers at the pool.

Lone stars and boomer sooners,

oil men and ranchers.

Scrapbooks of these lives are housed at Nana’s,

along with the photo of her in a flower covered buggy.

The big metal box in the closet where the roof slopes down

houses faded Polaroids and Kodak moments

picked up from the drug store long ago.


I am from cells defrosted by the Gulf Stream, warmed by trade winds,

and cooked in the Southern sun,

Cells that are now regenerating in the Northwest rain.


-Ann Ross-Clarke


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