Where I Am From

I was asked to write a poem based on “Where I Am From” by George Ella Lyon. It led me to memories sweet and painful, a warm heart, laughter and tears, over and over. Here it is…

Where I Am From

I am from Sooner sojourners

I am from I-80, I-40, I-20, I-35,
I sleep until we get there

I am from corn fields, dad is master of statistics, family of four

I am from Alphabet Island, dad is piled high and deep in statistics, family of five
Church where dad leads singing,
Where my pew gymnastics lead to head stitching

I am from roller skating in the basement, walking on stilts, burying Sandy under the deck, dad works all the time, family of six

The call
No response

I am from the Sooner garden;
snapping green beans, shucking corn, shelling pecans
sweet pickles and elbows off the table
chocolate gravy and summer camp
flannel graphs and comb binding
pa-pa preaching and reclining on cushioned pews
fearing hell, I come Just As I Am and take the plunge before my 11th birthday

The call
No response

I am from aloe vera and peeling sunburns, saying “dude,” mountains and sea,
Though six moved together, six moved apart
And outward we spiraled
Church where I lead singing
Church where I learn not to question

The call
No response

I am from too much information
Disorientation, instability, distrust
I am from poor choices, dodging bullets
I am from grandma dying and visiting my dreams

I am from Barbecue, the deep fried South,
Hard places soften, reconciliation in fits and starts

The call
Please hold

I am from dust storms, grad school, ultimate frisbee, authenticity
The call
I’m listening
Embrace, affirmation
Holy ground and spirit fire

I am from fleur de lis, canon in D, happily ever after
Answering the call,
my turn to hold

Hold.
Keep holding.

I am from blacktops steaming with hope

Hold
Keep holding

I am from waves, sun, community
Holding gives way to affirmation, acceptance, opportunity
I am from ministry

I am from the wild ride of motherhood
Nine months up, nine months down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I am from sleepless nights to first foods to first day of school in a heartbeat
I am from life passing too quickly

I am from Interstate of promise
Listening, discerning, leaning in

Don’t ask where I am from
The answer is too long
I am from everywhere and nowhere
Home is there, and there, and there
Home is here
Home is in five sets of blue eyes

I am from love and hope,
despair and joy and hurt,
desperation and impatience
peace and confidence
I am from the hand of God and I am home.