I am from white cotton sheets hanging out to dry, from Quaker oatmeal left on the stove for breakfast and buckets of rocks picked up after school before home work or tv.
I am from the house that looked like a barn, half underground, built by my father, federal blue bedroom walls and cold ceramic tile floors.
I am from the wild cherry cut down to make a bedroom suite never to be , roses struggling in the red clay to thrive, tobacco leaves scattered on the barn floor, fruit trees in the orchard, iris beds getting more attention than us kids , the rolling yard where grass was premium.
I am from turkey on Thanksgiving and ham on Christmas and Easter and blue eyes for ten generations from Richard Duane and Nancy Lee and my Mawmaw that always called me Bess even though it wasn’t my name.
I am from denial, and love that was unspoken.
From walking on one shoe bringing bad luck and snapping turtles not letting go until it thunders.
I am from Southern Baptists, fire and brimstone ,preaching of a God in which I don’t believe.
I am from the rolling green pastures of Erin and the Trail of Tears, thick chicken and dumplings and meatloaf with ketchup.
From parents who grew up poor , hording , living in self imposed poverty, the dreams my mother holds for me , never coming true, and the torture of trying to find my way alone.
I am from the middle pages of the photo album, the pictures of me a third of those of my sisters , invisible, trying to find a place in the cedar chest , on the wall , or in the tins with every one else.