Incredibly, I've Lived In Chico, CA 8 Years Now.
The Seventh Year of Sporadic Writing: I Reintroduce Myself
The Beginning of I Am
I am eggshells,
From Dippity-Do and Little Women.
I am from pink bricks, cluttered rooms, and tiny windows,
Volatile, longing, mother bent over full baskets and an ironing board.
I am from a Chinese elm by the driveway
Lovely in bloom but fragile, taking survival a year at a time in a climate for which it was profoundly unsuited.
I’m from hopeful planning and empty promises
From William Sr. and William Jr. in a family of unwanted girls.
I’m from chaos and addictions,
From “Who do you think you are?” and “What do you have to be happy about?”
I’m from a Grandmother’s faith and the tutelage of nuns,
Polish Christmas Eves and dwindling celebrations of anything,
Children at the table, one of them tied to a chair until she eats what makes her vomit
But mostly, eating half-cooked meals by themselves.
I’m from insatiable hunger and miraculous cookies,
From the love of a Grandmother, and feasts carefully arranged on an old lace tablecloth
on visits to an old Chicago neighborhood that smells like sewage and home.
I’m from a frayed album of old wedding photos of a hopeful day before children arrived,
the pretty bride grateful to have found someone willing to overlook the eczema on her hands
and the handsome groom’s determination to become rich
(perennially thwarted by a need to break inconvenient rules and promises.)
I was born of possibility, of inauspicious beginnings and running away,
To better soil in which to plant myself and grow.