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.