Where I’m From

Stacey Joy

I’m from “Put your hands on your hips
And let your backbone slip!”
From my mother’s strong legs and thick thighs
To wide smiles and dark brown eyes
I’m from four generations of freckles and moles
To “Stop combing your hair so much and maybe it’ll grow.”

I’m from Gloria and Jay
Both graduates of U.C.L.A.
I’m from playing school and wanting to teach
To walking on the sink to get things out of my reach
I’m from Are You My Mother?
To Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret
I’m from creating a hidden reading room in a linen closet
To card-table tents and Barbie campers

I’m from a big yellow house on a hill in “The Dons”
To pool parties and Slip ‘n Slide scratched knees
From backyard baby showers and Christmas Brunch
To classy Bridge players and domino dads talkin’ trash
I’m from Hopscotch and laggers on the side of the house
To a daring first kiss that made me shiver and spit

I’m from Nestle Quik’s chocolate bubbles floating in my milk
To Gogo Burgers and Tito’s Tacos with guacamole
From burnt cheese toast and El Patio Mexican restaurant
To sardines and crackers after Saturday morning waffles
I’m from Nana’s Monday night Russian Bank and Pokeno
To Mommie’s badminton matches on Sunday mornings in the gym

I’m from “Drive safely and don’t stay out too late”
To cheerleading at Friday night football games and Shakeys after
From “You will not be driving for 2 more weeks”
To senior prom and graduation parties past curfew
I’m from “Mommie, I think I’m pregnant”
To sedation at a clinic plagued with regrets

I’m from growing up and moving out
To dorms, apartments and owning my condo
From married with two children and too many jobs too young
To divorced, grateful, and balanced
I’m from the suffering of my mother’s and father’s cancer
To the resurrection of hope and joy after grief

I’m from struggle, suffering, injustice, and inequalities
To taking a stand, sitting in, and marching onward
I’m from knowing my ancestors had it harder than us
To trusting that God is still the same today and always
I’m from poetry, chalk, protests, and music
I’m from breath and spirit
I’m from love.

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