Where I'm From
by George Ella Lyons

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments-
snapped before I budded-
leaf-fall from the family tree.

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"Where I'm From" appears in George Ella Lyon's Where I'm From, Where Poems Come From, a poetry workshop- book for teachers and students, illustrated with photographs by Robert Hoskins and published by Absey & Co, Spring, Texas, 1999.

The poem is reprinted with permission from the author and the publisher.

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Ms. Lyons is the author of picture books and novels as well as poetry for children. She is available for school and conference presentations. See http://www.georgeellalyon.com for more information.