I am from 1971 Pontiac fake wood panelling, from Shaklee Vitamins splattered on the wall and
the dent in fake brick linoleum where my mom threw a plate at my dad.
I am from the dirt where I found my own magic rock when the bulldozer tore the lot…a porch in a meadow lit by pooled candles under plastic sheeting that remelted at midday, gray shingle siding and hidden behind cedars with huckleberry children.
I am from the sword fern, the roadside chamomille blossom, captured pollywogs on the stoop becoming green frogs in the parsley, the seaweed, the nasturtium, barnacles and black shark teeth
I am from hand hewn Christmas trees, saltwater salmon fishing, drinking scotch and soda, from Vera and Hvite-Bang and Van Horn.
I am from the nagging of the emotionally neutered patriarch and stitching in cotton.
From the girls who were sluts because they’d been raped by fathers and uncles and brothers, a woman who can love any man, but chooses wisely and that daughter of a preacher who told me I’d go to hell when she caught me lying – I pray for her.
I am from blue-eyed Jesus. Smiling lovingly next to Sri Yukitaswar and Yogananda.
I’m from Seattle and Scandinavians, smoked oysters and unseasoned broccoli.
From the grandfather who escaped the Kaiser’s army in a fishing boat,
then adopted out his youngest children when their mother died, and the homebirthing of Kjell Mikal as he crowned wider and wider with only his father and brother and sister to catch him
I am from shoeboxes in the closet and slipped in bookjackets, tacked to unfinished wall studs, and lost in past moves – cracking, creasing, yellowing and preserved under plastic sheets but still smelling of stale tobacco.