I am from bobby pins,
from mixing bowls and scented oils.
I am from small spaces –
a blanket fort on the floor by the heat-vent
curled in a ball on the loveseat in the hothouse.
I’m from creaking hardwood, handmade quilts, plush pillows.
From homemade soap
scented with lemongrass and bergamot.
From winding ivy
whose reaching limbs
I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from closed doors and kitchen laughter
From a matriarchy
both tough and tender.
From melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
From cookie dough and beef stew
I’m from rough hands
and manicures to make them soft again.
From “Drink milk and grow a backbone.”
“No one is or will ever be like you”
“…maybe when you’re older”
I’m from reading under covers after lights out.
From the base of the Rockies, looking ever upward.
I’m from cow pastures
ripe tomatoes and sugar snap peas
picked right before dinner.
From walks to the convenience store
to the flower shop
to the candy store
back when it was safe to do so.
From a mother who chooses love
no matter how many times her heart gets broken.
From boxes of handwritten notes
folded like origami
passed between classes
kept safe in my mother’s garage.
I am from fluffy-soft hair
and coke-bottle glasses
poured into lace dresses
and itchy tights
sat uncomfortably on a church pew.
I am from the stage
facing thunderous applause.
I am from fits of frustration
so enormous and heavy
they threaten to tear through
this small body
which cannot possibly hope to contain them.
I am from pages
of scribbled down poetry
that come just before sleep.
I am from smiley face heart monitor electrodes
a yellow leg cast dawning teddy bears and balloons
thermometers, ice packs, braces, crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs
scrambling to make sense of
seemingly unrelated symptoms.
I am from typewriter clacks
of tap dance shoes
on a makeshift plywood home studio.
I am from curling iron burns
fingers sliced by freshly sharpened shears.
I am from extemporaneous road trips
with no destination or promise of return.
I am from forehead kisses and backrubs
handmade quilts and engaged conversation.
From chins held high, gazing forward, no matter what.
Written as an exercise suggested on the ‘Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach’ podcast, based on the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon