I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. --Abraham Lincoln
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Where I'm From
I am from station wagons, from kool-aid and turf-builder.
I am from the three bedroom, one bath ticky-tacky box
with the swath of weedy lawn; from lightning bugs,
June bugs, and mosquitoes the size of small birds.
From nights near as hot as the days,
spread-eagled on sticky sheets
crickets creaking, horns honking,
trains rumbling and whistling in the distance…
I am from snow to the eaves, jewel-studded ice storms
and green-black thunderstorms with sideways rain.
I am from bright red tulips, honeysuckle berries,
and worms on the driveway after a cloudburst;
from daisies, tiny wild strawberries, “Queen Anne’s Lace”
and crashing the kite into power lines.
I am from “Look what followed me home from school”
and never having too many animals. From Taffy and Rusty
and Sunny, the yellow headed parakeet, who could say
“Happy Birthday” but only when he thought
no one was listening…
I am from the women who shuttle the carpool,
punch the clock, scrub the toilet,
then climb into the bottle, the herb
or the fantasy to quiet the noise in their heads
and the men they choose to rescue
or who choose to rescue them.
From “When you meet the right one, you’ll just know”
and “Your dad was a virgin when we were married…”
I am from the dutiful eldest daughter who paired off
home made and pro-created at the appointed time,
and the other four who didn’t.
I am from the tearful Catholic and the stoic agnostic;
the rope stretched taut between belief and unbelief,
pulled one direction, then the other…
the eternal tug of war never won.
I’m from pioneers of urban exile; before the country clubs and the soccer and the Rolls Royces.
I’m from the first McDonald’s and the last Tastee Freez.
I am from the great moldering box in the upstairs closet;
roaring twenties sepias stacked on
shiny square instamatic shots, discoloring with age.
I am from the five stair-steps, the Christmas trees, the campfires,
and the blurred mountains captured from a moving car.
I am from the unlikely union of a country boy and a city girl,
brought together by Hitler and Hirohito;
and the neighborhood of compromise
that kept them both sane…almost.
On Where We're Destined to Go...
As for life, I'm humbled, I'm without words sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint, and soft as a spring pond,both of these and over and over,
and long pale afternoons besides, and so many mysteries beautiful as eggs in a nest, still unhatched though warm and watched over by something I have never seen -a tree angel, perhaps,or a ghost of holiness.
Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective. It suffices, it is all comfort - along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last to the long afterlife, to the tenderness yet to come, when time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death, I can't wait to be the hummingbird, can you?
"Sometimes I go around feeling sorry for myself; and all the while I am being carried by the wind across the sky." --Chippewa saying.