I am from Nana’s oil paintings imitating the Impressionist masters
from Russian matryoshka nested dolls and Great Aunt Laverne’s tea cup collection
I am from a house atop Cat Mountain with the best sunsets
and the sound of cars on the highway below lulling me to sleep at
I am from the Hill Country and roads cut through limestone
populated with cedar trees whose bark peels off like an old skin
I’m from eccentric introverts and too many gifts at Christmas
from Heatherly and Elena who made me the middle sister
from dad traveling overseas too much doing lots of good things for other people.
I’m from “this too shall pass” and “we have not earned any of the things we have” and
“if the Lord wills and you see me again” before every parting
From “Where are you going my little one” sung every night by Mama before bed til I cried
from the grief of leaving her one day.
I’m from every song, even commercial jingles, sung together in tight harmonies
I’m from Connecticut and Scotland but not really because I’m from Texas Texas Texas
down to great and greater grandparents who gave birth in one room houses in Cleburne
and made sweet potato biscuits and black eyed peas at New Years.
From Anna Christie’s drowned husband and
Otis from Sweden whom she raised as her own when his mother died in childbirth
From Papa who left home at fourteen, spent three years as a POW in Java
and went back to Japan after the war to be a missionary
From diaries written with pre-teen tears about how I’m too fat, fears of death, glass miniature bric-a-brac, rock and shell collections displayed in wooden cubby shelves on my bedroom wall,
from the only time I ignore Mama’s call for dinner or food on any kind is when I’m reading in bed
Now I am from uncaulked baseboards, grimy from years of bringing the outside in
from the smell of fertilizer and fish immulsion mixed with cooking tomatoes
Now I am from the maple trees tapped every year for syrup and boiled down in a black
cauldron in the white winter woods
from poems written at the narrow creek that bends
round from here to the wider streams
Now I am from a tanned farmer whose tender loving hands are often cracked and running
with dirt, blood and rain
from a fairy who feeds the chickens in her princess dress and muck boots
from a cuddly Tom Sawyer who waves at Daddy driving by in the tractor
while holding his dinosaur to his chest
Now I am from a community of idealists, hippies, peace-loving Mennonites
And I am not one of them but I am
I am also from Jesus. And he has been there from the beginning.
I am synchroblogging with SheLoves Magazine today with their series on “I am From.” You can read more or link up here.