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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Where I'm From, a poem


I am from cornbread, fried shrimp,
Hushpuppies and grits…
From iced tea, straight up,
Tea bag re-used three times.
I am from the Southern Pine,
Deeply rooted in red clay,
Bending in hurricane winds,
Surrounded by azaleas and dogwoods.

I am from Pecan orchards,
Row upon row of Silver Queen Corn;
Sirmon’s “Big Ol’” Strawberries:
Pick your own.
I am from the afternoon thunderstorm,
Tornado shelters, trailer parks.
From water moccasins in the streets,
Courtesy of Hurricane Frederick.

I am from plaid school uniforms,
Multiplication tables, perfect penmanship
Taught with an Irish brogue
And a ruler.
From respect for our Flag
Folded with military precision,
With dreams of West Point
And horses.

I am from the Lady of Chalot,
Twelfth Night, Psalm 27,
To comfort and soothe my soul.
From the rich melody of
Old family names: 
Guarisco, Lazzari, Bertagnolli…
Surrounding my new one;
Green eyes hiding among dark brown.

I am from fear, anger, violence
And the black leather belt
Hanging on a nail.
I am from the smell of cheap beer,
whiskey watered down;
From Strength in silence,
Hiding for safety,
Quiet, listening.

I am from a childhood misplaced,
Pictures lost, traditions forgotten,
Family scattered
By our own choosing.
Nothing to tie me to home
Except lessons from the past
Learned with my ear
To the floor.

(Inspired by: "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon)

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