Where I’m From by Ronda Redmond
I am from glorified rice and scalloped potatoes,
from floors washed on hands and knees, carpets
vacuumed stubby; from lemon wedges rubbed
in the armpits of old white t-shirts.
I am from Alfreda and Erna, and three
dead husbands between them. From
Sunday morning polka hour and faking sick
to miss church. I’m from Come, Lord Jesus,
and So help me, Hanna.
I am of Laverne, Shirley, and the Bionic woman;
from the public swimming pool, double-dog dares,
and swimsuits that never dry all day; from sharks
in the deep end and the belief
I can breathe underwater.
I am Elm trees that arched a tunnel across the street
I grew up on; the sun falling through the leaves
and dancing shadows across the street; the flat smell
of a child’s sweat and falling asleep
at eight o’clock—the eccentric peace
of sleeping while the sun stays awake.