Where I'm From

September 16, 2008
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I am from the buzz of long-legged wasps,
freshly mown grass, still wet and bleeding,
I’m from a strawberry plucked to take the pain away,
and cheesy sci-fi in a darkened room.

From a strand of seaweed tangled around a foot,
Jars of homemade jam and a swinging hammock,
Sticky seawater and the tap of a badminton birdie.

I am from the groan of a dying tree that’s lost a friend,
the ache of a thousand push-ups (so it seemed)
and from diving underwater where nothing’s clear. Dive in but not too deep.

I’m from endless sleepovers, mingled perfumes and the crinkle of shopping bags.
From crumpled magazines and hair caught around a rubber band,
and allowance spent before the middle of a month.

I am from the harsh glare of fluorescent lights, a stretch of blank paper,
with Nothing. To. Say.
From mini-twin cheeseburgers and
the bang—slosh of a substitute’s coffee cup.
From: Speak Up, Sit Down, Raise Your Hand, Turn It In,
And watching a teacher waste away.

I’m from the nausea of sliding out from under flannel sheets at 5:00 A.M.
From a night spent in the parking lot of a hospital, fear a cat kneading my stomach.
I’m from the joy of surprise in brightly colored wrapping paper
piled beneath a fir tree.

I am from fear in the form of a scuttling spider,
A nasty grin: Want A Ride?
From the silence of useless grudges borne, and
dreams woken from in a cold sweat.

I’m from the touch of an ivory key,
Braces twice, and peeling, stinging sunburns.
From the soft lace of an old friend and a thumb stuck in the side of my mouth.

I’m from the screech of the mailbox when there’s nothing for me,
A goldfish swimming upside-down before it dies,
From the spaces in between the lines, and

I am from her and him who have nothing in common but me.

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waffle said...
Sept. 23, 2008 at 6:01 pm
What a powerful poem! Full of images and sensory detail that shows the complexity that is your life. Well done!
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