I wrote this poem in the summer of 2018 during my 3rd summer teaching with the Valley Scholars Program at JMU. We began our summer program with a prompt encouraging students to think about where they are from – the home space that defines them – as a framework before visiting Montpelier (James Madison’s house). What I wrote that day felt familiar, which is I suppose, exactly how it should be.
Today, in the Shenandoah Valley, I am missing my home place in Wisconsin a bit extra, and felt like sharing the poem I wrote that day:
I Am From:
I am from sandlots and money trees
From Shake n’ Bake and Pabst Blue Ribbon
I am from the tree house with the broken ladder
Cozy, colorful, busting at the seems.
I am from lavender,
Soft and sleepy, like my mothers hands after a bath.
I’m from shop picnics and full belly laughs,
From Bob and Sandi.
I’m from the “Can I get an extra hand?” and “You’ll learn as you go.”
From “Cast your line out” and “Just be patient.”
I’m from the town of Jenny,
Kielbasa, cabbage, and white potatoes.
From the game of squirt gun tag ending with cracked skull and butterfly bandage.
From the dad who offers you food no fewer than 3 times.
From the treasure chest basements spread across four moves,
Dusty and resilient,
Persistent to a fault.