In the style of George Ella Lyon
I am from the lumber and nails,
constructed into the many homes built by my dad.
I am from the woods surrounding two of those homes,
and the hole in the base of the oak tree outside my bedroom window,
harboring a litter of kittens, mewing loudly during a torrential summer rain.
I am from birthday celebrations with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
and from holding your tongue and holding grudges,
I’m from the Adams’, the Christiansens’, the Esbrooks’, and the Lundmarks’.
from “everything is fine” and “don’t complain”
and from “eat your dinner, there are starving children in Africa.”
I am from words left unspoken.
No “I love you’s,” no “I’m proud of you’s”.
I’m from camping at the Evergreen Campsites, and weekends at the cottage.
I’m from Neenah, but in a way, I’m also from Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, England and Germany.
I’m from my grandma’s caramel rolls and my dad’s chicken booyah simmering for hours over a campfire.
From my mom and dad meeting
in high school,
when she, the valedictorian, asked him,
a shy farmer’s kid, for a ride to a dance.
I’m from the unrealistic expectations created in my head,
and can’t let go of,
because nobody told me
I was okay just the way I was.