Where I’m From

Where I’m From
I am from the old copper tea kettle, dinged, battered and sticky, from Coats and Clarks All Purpose White (the economy roll) and the rummage sale blue pants, three sizes too big, but triumphantly made of denim like the other kids wore.

I am from the house on Nora Creek Road, chipped red shutters and tired white paint, a red metal roof that sings in the rain, dark orange water from a well nearly dry, sour and unforgiving.

I am from the honeysuckle that grew wild on the hill, from pinecones scattered everywhere, and poppies with papery orange petals, out back by the old church pew.

I am from choosing birthday dinners and megalomania, from Nelsons, Outhouses and Applegates, from HCK and all the Cerethes there ever were.

I am from the over indulgers and bewildering intellects.

From be careful or your face will freeze that way, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, from dumb Kopf, idgeyut, spiteful wench and don’t be schtewpid.

I am from Thanks be to God, the Lord be with you and also with you, from Be Not Afraid and Beatitudes, from In the Stars and On Eagle’s Wings, from Glory Hallelujah.

I am from a land that’s evergreen, and amber waves of grain, from teachers of kings in a faraway place and Yankee ingenuity, from rice with everything (but NEVER milk and sugar), and a block of ice cream cut three by three for all to get their fair share.

From an ancient tiny woman squatted with a bread board across her knees making wontons the way they’re supposed to be made — the only time I ever saw her. I am from red suspenders and the yellow straw hat with a hole worn through, from you’re a good kid and I believed it.

I am from a stack of boxes tucked in a closet that survived hundreds of miles and dozens of addresses, from fervent poems scrawled on scraps of paper, and every letter I’ve ever been written. I am from walls adorned with nearly a decade of Fourth of July masterpieces wrought from the hands and imaginations of the people I love.