Where I'm From
I am from Sunday dinner, from Pond's cold cream and fresh hot coffee.
I am from the big white house with the dark green shutters and great big yard, and I am from the Atlantic ocean beach, hot in the summer sun, pungent with creosote and salty air, sweet with melting ice cream and caramel corn.
I am from the forest of azaleas, back behind the vegetable garden, over by the roses and lilacs, steaks on the grill in late summer twilight.
I am from BLTs and milkshakes on Sunday night and the same old jokes told a million times. I am from Wises and Whitneys and Shaucks.
I am from the laughing and the drinking.
From Old Hickory the Leprechaun who lived under the kitchen table and the Three Billy Goats Gruff and all those sad old prison songs.
I am from the Catholic Church, the priests that drank whiskey with Pop and brought cassocks for mending and gave solace after tragedy and smudged cigarette ashes on my seven-year old forehead on the first day of Lent.
I'm from Maryland, Maryland from way way back, and home-grown tomatoes and rare roast beef with onions and chocolate angel pie.
From the graveyard that holds my grandfather and my grandfather's leg, separately, next to each other; the graveyard that holds my unknown brother and my aunts and my father; where I used to ride my bike and play hide-and-seek among the ghosts.
I am from the fragile birdlike body of my mother, my old old mother, my 95-year old mother, my beloved, maddening mother.
I am from the pictures clustered on my sewing table; I am from the precious daguerreotypes and fading snapshots and wedding portraits and digital photographs. I am from the thick black scrapbook in my mother's house, the one holding our lives from 1865 on up, the scrapbook I must finish, the scrapbook that will never end.