Poem ~ Where I’m From
Where are you from? The answer is not a city or town or state. It’s “what” do you come from? What made you who you are? Origins have more than place to them. They have memory, events, food, objects, scars, prayers, friendships, fireflies, and music. Below is a George Ella Lyon’s poem “Where I’m From.” Notice how the “where” she describes is much more than a place.

Where I’m From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
And the pass-it-ons,
from “perk up” and “pipe down.”
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s branch
fried corn and strong coffee
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments-
snapped before I budded-
leaf-fall from the family tree.
~ George Ella Lyons