November 18, 2020

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Where I'm from ...

is a coal town in southwest Pennsylvania where daily vacuuming and nightly baths are the only ways to keep the detritus from anthracite from furnishings, skin, lungs.

I'm from heat and humidity nourishing Siberian irises, towering sunflowers, cushiony pussy willows to tickle, dandelion fluff to wish upon.

I'm from jacks, mud pies, hula hoops, tag, hide-and-seek, fireflies for reading still another Nancy Drew, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.

I'm on the bridge between intoxicating ritual of grandma's orthodoxy upstairs, savoring Sunday morning pancakes, with bacon!, with my parents downstairs.

Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" made it a record year for our family's music store where the joy of sound, even for funerals was sold 9 to 9, 6 days a week.

I'm from sorrow and laughter (isn't everyone?) and lessons, like Outen da light; Keep your chins up, all of them; Who said life was fair? Dems da conditions dat prevail.

I'm from great loves/ small flirtations, friendships lasting/vanished, from that deep dark memory tunnel where poem seeds are dug out with ink, paper, time.