ok, I have a confession, I can’t write poetry to save my life. I love to read other peoples, but mine can’t stand up.

Anyway, I’m in a poetry class this semester and we had to do an adaptation of this poem:

Where I’m From

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.

and this is my adaptation…

Where I Come From

I am from bandaids,

from driveways and scraped knees.

I am from pine trees filling the front yard.

(Cool, dark

smelling of Christmas.)

I am from flower beds,

the elephant ears

behind which I remember hiding

invisible to the world.


I’m from popsicles and braids,

from Molitor and Redd.

I’m from the because-I-said-so’s

and the you-should-knows,

from keep up and slow down.

I’m from Our Father who art in heaven

with a gold communion cup

and grace that gets me through the day.


I’m from “Hot-lanta” and Dusseldorf,

southern roots and black coffee.

From the pride my father gained

in the Gulf War

the firm hand my mother held so we would grow up right.

Inside the many houses

memories were made,

memories I carry with me

of the family that shaped my future.

I am from my experiences—

forming me whether I liked it or not—

a strong woman fallen from the family tree.