Where I’m From

I am from a two-foot stack of vinyl 45s,

From Pall Mall and Salem cigarettes.

I am from one transient space after another; small, music-filled, and oozing with possibility.

I am from dandelion seeds, scattered by dreams whispered from lips on a summer’s day.

I’m from Elvis Presley singalongs during Saturday house cleanings and proud laborers and gamblers who don’t know how to quit.

From Sweet Caroline and the allusive Anthony,

I’m from the sting of extended cold shoulders and the rewards of unstoppable grit,

From “Nothing is more important than family“ and “You are capable of doing anything you want to do.”

I’m from Pioneer Girls, an occasional ceremonial Kleenex crown clumsily fastened by bobby pins, and a better-late-than-never First Holy Communion.

I’m from the Eastern Bloc and the City of Brotherly Love, filled cabbage, pop-pop’s chicken soup, and potato pancakes cooked in bacon fat and dripping in maple syrup.

From the truck that struck and killed my 3-year old uncle after the blast of its horn startled and sent him running from the hand of his older brother, who also lost his childhood that day.

From the needle pierced between my widowed grandmother’s ribs to draw fluid from her still young, yet diseased lung while she sits in a chair with arms splayed and her head braced against the kitchen table.

Photo boxes and albums tucked in spaces throughout my home.

Scans of hard copy journals and unpublished handwritten song lyrics.

Scattered mementos serve up the origins of my body, mind, and spirit offering clues for healing.

Created as part of an exercise from the book Skill In Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World and inspired by the George Ella Lyon poem “Where I’m From.”

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