Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday Poem: Where I'm From

I spent only the first four years of my life
living in Kentucky. I was there
just long enough to learn my letters
and cement the hillbilly twang
that marks my tongue, but my mother
is from Kentucky too, and I
am from my mother and my father
and from the families that gave
them life, made my life somehow
possible. I learned to walk on a porch
in Van Lear, chasing a cat, and I am
still a cat person, still running after
everything I want. I fell in the yard;
Mom says they had to use a
straight jacket just to get those
stitches into my scalp, and my
husband will testify to my
continuing intolerance for pain, and
the truth that I could still use
a straight jacket on some afternoons,
because I will sabotage my own
good plans. I will drop out for fear
of failure. I spun baton and slept
in curlers before winning the title
Kentucky's Tiny Miss, 1984. I was
prissy by my trophies and wearing a tiara
that I still set atop my head
once a year. I've never forgotten
how it feels to be a queen, how it feels
to be loved the best, the most, to own
my daddy's heart and be the center
of my mama's world. I was wrenched away
from those hills when I was four, and
my grandpa died and left me a legacy
of favored patriarchal love. I stood
at the church house doors and called
the mourners to come and see, come
and see this man who loved me, who called me
by name.

So is it any surprise today
that I live my life in hopes of calling
each of you to come and see
the man named Jesus who loved me
to the cross and gave me
His life.


2 comments:

  1. There's a real kind of courage in writing for publication. It's even more real when the writing is personal.

    You are courageous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love how you took your memories and created such lovely images.

    ReplyDelete

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