Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Am From

I am from bacon grease on the back of the stove
and dog bowls at the back door
and champagne bottles that toasted births
all lined up in a row

I am from the yellow house with pink shingles
and creaky wood floors
and one full bath
for seven people

I am from a family that didn't expect me because it was already full up with teenagers
and long haired boys on motor bikes and girls almost grown up and leaving
but it was also full up on love
so I am from babysitters and ice cream buyers and we love you so much

I am from the kitchen
with the worn wooden table and ash trays full to the brim
and coffee cups strewn about half full and kissed with lipstick

I am from Tree City USA full of stately elms
that grew so tall and wide they pushed sidewalks aside
and shaded generation after generation
until a disease infected them all and they slowly disappeared forever

I am from playing under water locusts and china berries and blue spruce
and climbing that one ginko all the way to the top
knowing that heaven was that much closer
because I dared
I remember that tree's
long gone limbs
as if they were my own

I am from Ghost in the Graveyard and Kick the Can
I am from Truth or Dare and lightning bugs

I am from church on Sunday and everything in order
I am from Mama and Daddy and "Aint" Alice and Uncle Roger

I am from damaged bread and honey buns and bear claws left for trash
but rescued by a hard working man who knew treasure when he saw it

I am from "Give me some sugar!" and "stand up straight"
and "You are my sunshine" sung in two part harmony

I am from The Gateway to the West and baseball and frozen custard and thin crust pizza
I am from Atlanta and Emory and Chick-Fil-A and Jimmy Carter and pot liquor
But I am also from Germany and England and Scotland and Prussia

I am from black-eyed peas and turnip greens and fried corn bread and peach cobbler
I am from apple pies and sauerkraut and fresh honey dew
and a cup of hot water first thing in the morning

I am from Meme and a house that always smelled of creamed corn
and bacon and Dove soap and Brach's candy

I am from Grandma whose short legs and generous jowls
now look at back at me in the mirror

I am from the Jim Crow South
and Whites and Coloreds

I am from rural Ohio
and soybeans and corn

And now I am from three boys and a man
and a dog whom we call Stinkerpants all crammed into an ancient house built of stone
I am from writing down the stories with my eyes wide open trying to drink in all of the glory
before I fall asleep


One of the many reasons that I love being a part of SheLoves Magazine? Synchroblogs like this, in honor of Heritage Day in South Africa. This is my offering for the "I Am From" prompt, an opportunity for folks around the world to share more about who they are and what has shaped them. We would love for you to join us. You can link up your own poem here. And while you're linking up, be sure to read from the amazing collection of stories already gathered there.


  1. I love this so much. I am from some of your there and some very different there, but could never express it quite as lovely as you have. I hope that newest son is ready to bless you with his birth sooner rather than later.

  2. Growing up in the Midwest, much of this feels like me. And Brach's . . .what happened to Fiesta Eggs at Easter? They are my very favorite but I couldn't find them last year. You gave us such tangible pieces of your life that I can smell and taste and feel. Now bring that baby into the world will ya? Lots of love to you.

  3. I followed you right down the lanes of Tree City USA and into your time in the Jim Crow South, but Ohio? Do I know about that leg of your journey?
    Ah, what is behind is so rich, isn't it? Some days, knowing that gives me courage for what lies ahead ...

    I love this, Holly.

  4. Loved this, Holly. Reading through these from posts has stirred so much up in me. So glad you shared. Thinking about you these days as you wait for this little one.

  5. So very beautiful dear friend....l miss all those things...and the ice cream truck too! Makes me want to print this like a checklist to, line by line, share the journey of growing up as a 70's and 80's child with my own children. Beauty in life, not Wii and Minecraft;-)

  6. Oh - I love this - so love everyline of this:)

  7. So wonderful to read where you're from, Holly. What a rich heritage, indeed.

  8. That corn ...

    And this: " ... climbing that one ginko all the way to the top knowing that heaven was that much closer
    because I dared" Wow. I love this sentence.

    Amazing, as you are, my friend.

  9. this of the best ideas I have read in a LONG time. can't even get enough of everyone's stories. Thank you thankyou.

  10. This is the first time I have visited your blog in a long time. I was thinking yesterday how I have missed your voice. I have missed a lot of voices as of late. So glad I came here today, in your space and I am excited to know that you are connected to Atlanta. I live very close to Emory in Decatur. Would love to know more about your connection to my now home. God I love Atlanta. I love her more and more and more. She is a beauty to wander through.