These words are mine but the format is not – the original belongs to George Ella Lyon, but my sister and I used it as a template in a writing game she and I played over a year ago now.
I am from dresses,
from green Miracle II soap and Honey Bunches of Oats.
I am from the hundred-year-old house
(coal-blackened, carpet-floored, the bottom stair-step always groaned).
I am from spearmint patches
taking over flowerbeds,
yielding Mom’s green garden tea.
I’m from 3 books at the library on Wednesday evenings
and talking too fast to be understood,
From duty-bound Marlene, and unknowable Ruby Jane.
I’m from underperforming hearts and secretly calling in to Wolves Sanctuary,
From “take a calm pill” and “you were Daddy’s sunshine”.
I’m from the Mennonite uniform
conspicuous in every town crowd.
I’m from Sedalia and Mena and Tampico,
but really Colorado;
Cereals for breakfasts and at bedtimes,
Sodas in the shop refrigerator.
From my sister’s choice not to join the church,
From my daddy’s green-brown eyes, bequeathed only to me.
Nine hundred miles away there’s a towering bookcase,
Shelves tight-stuffed with books.
I am from these stories of my childhood
Turning me into who I would become.