I was introduced to the work of George Ella Lyon at the NCWP Summer Institute. That night I tucked myself into my dorm room, plugged my earbuds into my laptop and was mesmerized by the richness of George Ella Lyon’s voice. I listened to her poem Where I’m From over and over again that night. And then, like all writers do, I tried to emulate her. I plumbed my memories and tapped away at the keys, deleting and typing, deleting and typing until the lines left on the screen felt right in my mouth. These are those lines.
I Am From
I am from hopscotch chalked on sidewalks, from Schwinn and Barbies.
I am from the top of Sleepy Hollow Loop, picking Poet’s Shooting Star for my mother.
I am from dandelion seeds caught in my curls, a faded image captured in the pages of my red photo album.
I am from jumping barefoot over salty waves, gripping my grandfather’s steady hand.
I am from the Wheeler nose and Betty Jean’s dimpled cheeks.
I am from the never-ending goodbye and Christmas stockings, stitched with care.
I am from the empty tomb and undeserved, infinite grace.
I am from Redding, scorched into my skin on sweltering summer days.
I am from Saturday morning sweetmilks and strings of golden taffy.
I am from pink bikes and purple lips stained with blackberries by the river
I am from poetry and my mother’s lullabies.
I am from beeping EKG’s keeping time with my heart, keeping time with my beautiful life.