I Am From

In the style of George Ella Lyon


I am from the lumber,

the nails, the drywall,

meticulously crafted into the many homes I have lived,

each built by my dad’s strong hands.

I am from the woods surrounding one of my childhood homes,

and the hole in the base of the oak tree outside my bedroom window,

harboring a litter of kittens, mewing softly during a summer rain.


I’m from family birthday celebrations with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins

and from holding grudges and holding one’s tongue,

I’m from the Adams’, the Christiansons’, the Esbrooks’, and the Lundmarks’.

from “everything is fine” and “keep your feelings inside”

and from “eat your meat, there are starving children in Africa.”


I’m from love that fills the heart, and from words never spoken.

No “I love you’s,” no “I’m proud of you’s”.

I’m from camping trips, and weekends at the cottage.

I’m from Neenah and Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, England and Germany.

I’m from cinnamon rolls and from chicken booyah cooked over a campfire.

From my mom and dad meeting

in high school,

when she, the valedictorian, asked him,

a farmer’s son, for a ride to a dance.

I’m from the expectations I’ve created in my head,

and can’t let go,

because nobody told me

I was okay just the way I was.


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