I Am From

I am from…carob tree pea pods

that tasted bitter when you bit into them.

From sow bugs that rolled

into a little ball

When your child’s fingers touched them.

 

I am from long, lacy dresses.

A special one each year for Easter Sunday morning.

 

I am from concrete freeways

and cracked sidewalks.

Houses that look alike

Each fourth lot.

 

I am from laughter out loud

and yelling in silence.

 

I am from a love that did not last.

Two sweethearts melted away.

I am from older sisters

Who tolerated

Who protected

Who despised

Who resented

 

And who wore your new shoes

Before they were taken from the box.

 

I am from long days

playing in the yard

until the sun set

and it was too dark to see my

feet.

 

From the savory scent of meat and potatoes

dinners wafting through

the kitchen window.

 

From Mother on the phone

to back East.

Sipping from her screw top

white wine glass

ice cubes

clinking in the air.

 

I am from trying hard to remember

what it felt like

smelled like

sounded like

what it meant

 

to live in that house

the youngest of the youngest of the youngest.

 

And to know

deep in my marrow:

I was not from there.