Where I’m From

I come from a foot peddle beneath a whirring sewing machine
and the first beneath Dad’s automotive fingernails
the slopes of Ski Windham
and the weekend retreats of the Catskills

I was born from the pages of Gladys’ daily journals
the duffle-bag of Ivan’s Navy days
the straight-line scriptures of Howard’s sermons
the escapes of Gertude’s novels

I am the neon tattoo of the dandelion
the flaming bristles of the devil’s paintbrush
a loose slab on a historic stone wall

I was nourished on
fried yellow squash blossoms
powdered milk
Quaker Instant oatmeal
birch beer
and candy circus peanuts

I am
Hello, Hollywood
    Inside or out
    and
Straighten up and fly right

I am from packages of dress patterns
from under real Christmas trees
from in front of a 13-inch television

My life is written in glue and glitter on red Christmas bulbs
When we celebrated on Thanksgiving
before my grandparents traveled south
with the geese

I am contained in John Denver record covers
tangled in a berry patch
blessed by traveling mercies

and I scream with the voice of a beagle’s bark
and the echo of a snow shovel on a long gravel driveway
and the urgency of the fire stations siren when there often are no volunteers

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