Monday, September 1, 2008

Where I'm From

after George Ella Lyon

I am from railroad tracks and whirligigs, from blue glass
Ball mason jars full of cat's eye marbles and old buttons,
from my mother's Tupperware parties.
I am from tongue and groove paneling
(shiny maple, put there by my grandfather
when his hands were strong and young).
I am from wisteria and milkweed
and planting petunias in flower beds each spring.

I'm from staying up late, fresh kettle popcorn,
real melted butter and shiny, salty fingers,
from Flip Kelly, Uncle Bub and Great Aunt Mary Davis.
I'm from big-mouths and bull-heads,
from don't-cut-paper-with-my-sewing-scissors
and stand-up-straight.

I am from the Moonlight Sonata
on the upright Wurlitzer my grandmother gave me
because my mother never learned to play,
from macramé and ceramics,
watching The Joy of Painting on PBS
and learning to crochet.

I'm from the coal hill and the Eastern,
radio cookies and the bubbly brown sugar
smell of Great Grandma Morgan's sweet yams,
singing Christmas songs along with Carpenters
while we made pressed butter cookies and divinity.

From putting notes in my grandpa's lunch bucket
before he left for the Y&O mine,
from the recipe book my grandma started
for me and never got a chance to finish.

I am from my mother's bookshelf,
the cedar chest, and the kitchen cupboard
where we still keep Grandma's good plates,
from leather photo albums,
and my favorite picture of my mother
wearing the same navy cable-knit toboggan
hat that I wear now.

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