I am from...2


I am from the third seat of the aqua blue station wagon,
from Plymouth and Dodge,
from fights about whose turn it is,
and whether that was really a license plate from Alabama.

I am from the long, low front porch, screened, a cool cement floor
and the glider with a tin-chime in its swing.
I am from the thorny sweetheart rose outside bedroom windows left open,
from oleanders on the highway median,
a low hurricane sky stretched out flat as an ironed sheet over the coastal plain.

From the Hill Country, too,  with its false horizons and blanket of cedar pollen come December.

 I am from hardscrabble people who left and kept leaving, some coming back this way
and beauties with thin noses,
 from Rosemary who started out Rowena and sang opera while doing the dishes, from three generations of James Lee
and three doctor Shipps.

I am from the ones who take to their rooms and never come down
 from one who walked in front of a train.
And from others who don’t. Aunt Nan and Aunt Jack and Aunt Judy and Ruth, the dancer

 From those who shall sit at the table until everyone is finished
 and those who would never put to pen anything too intimate.

 I am from Catholics turned Methodists turned Presbyterians,
the chosen who can’t sing worth a,
well where I’m from, we don’t curse, that’s for sure.

 I'm from big oil city out on the edges where young families survive doctoral tyrants and colicky babies,
 from meatloaf and pot roast, and tomatoes picked just before supper.

 From the buzz of story that seeps under the door at night,
 Texas Rangers and buggy rides,
droughts and droughts and droughts,

and the flashflood that washed away Uncle Ray’s kin,
farms lost  and found,
 fortunes ebbed and flowed,
French poodles and  Neiman Marcus hats
and the occasional steer brought to market.

I am from thick scrapbooks on the bottom shelf,
baby books 1,2,3,4,
cardboard boxes stacked in sheds,
regrettably dusty shelves waiting for spring cleaning in a 4-square house on a few creek-navigated acres.
 From people in photos with names carefully noted on the back,
 living tangled tight in as many spider webs as my heart can spin.