I Am From

I am from a sister sandwich,
I’m from the middle,
the peanut in peanut butter.
From a Navy ship gangway,
a mother with two arms
and three children
and a leash that held me in range.

I am from two sisters in silk-lined coffins.
I will see you in heaven, Heidi and Debbi.

I am from a Navy chief father,
a square jaw and a high forehead under a proud hat.
From the language of dash dot dot dash.

I am from Dorothy,
not the Oz, but from a river of logs.
Tiny in triple-A shoes,
straight-A student,
as fiery as her hair.

I am from President Grant and Buffalo Bill
and before the cry, “the British are coming,
the British are coming.
I’m not from God Save the Queen,
only sung when she appeared
O Canada is not where I’m from,
but a citizen I was.

I’m from a safe place
inside a pungent hay bale on the prairie
or burrowed in a tunnel of snow,
quiet like a marmot.

I am from a ground-level window seat
for a performance of Symphony in the Sky
with special lighting effects.

I am from the Watchbird is watching you.
And Big Brother is watching you.
I am from God the Eternal One is watching me
under a Banner of Love.

I am from Grandma Esther
with coiffed hair
and elegant piano fingers.
Needlepoint pricks and yarn needle clacks
and bonsai forests.
From her husband who died too young,
followed by a son.
From she had to sell the family home,
her farm and antique shop in Nebraska.
I am from her dainty tuna sandwiches cut in fourths,
sliced apples, and a cookie.

I am from Grandma Susan
with loose bun hair and stooped shoulders.
From canned food in jars and powdered milk,
a house built by two that held eight.
From a banana-shaped bench
smoothed by years of children’s rears.
From a hiking club,
neighbors honey in gallon jars,
slivers of soap in gallon jars
From her husband who died too young,
from married again to a high school friend.

I am from San Diego,
a native island in Hawaii,
from Three Hills and Orange
to name a few
in my childhood alone.

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