I am from

Betsy Jones

I am from Childcraft Books
from Bisquick and Dial soap
I am from the “other Georgia”
red clay, gnats, and cicadas
I am from sweet onions and lantana, peanuts and daylilies,
the citrusy floral perfume of tea olive trees
I’m from front porch swings and droopy eyelids
from Robert Edward Jones, Jr. and Traci Lynne Hutchison
I’m from the short-tempered and the story-tellers
from “dark thirty” and “sit up straight”
I’m from Advent wreaths,
silver and gold ornaments on the Chrismon Tree
from “all is calm, all is bright”
I’m from Ocilla Vidalia Leesburg Moultrie
(30 miles from anywhere else you’d rather be)
lacey cornbread, streak o’ lean-streak o’ fat
From my parents’ first meeting
(new teacher orientation,
homophone icebreaker,
engagement ring hidden in a pocket)
The dress my grandmother wore–with a peplum!–
for her first Ray City date with “that Jones boy”
on the walls lining the upstairs hallway,
on the mantel above the fireplace,
on the ledges and shelves of my mama’s kitchen
the faces of aunts and cousins, grandparents and uncles,
brothers and vacations and long-gone pets
I am from these crinkled eyes and round chins,
these posed and candid moments,
this love and legacy stored behind glass


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Betsy Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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