Where I’m From

I am from the mud-caked running shoes with the fraying laces and worn-out tread

From once Asics, to now Brooks, anything to prevent insanity.

I am from the Johnson Funny Farm in the rural Pike countryside and Guale, the Marshes of Glynn –

Both breathtakingly beautiful,

                 both rechargingly relaxing,

                             each wildly waving Loblolly or Spartina arms.

I am from the free-range eggs

    For which the (not once but twice) almost-murdered rooster mistakenly believes that he is necessary.

I’m from one side that event-izes everything elaborately, the other that celebrates every day simply.

      From Haynes and Johnson.

I’m from the wake-up dog breath full-face kisses of Boo Radley the valiant nightwatch-Schnoodle

       who sleeps with us because Mom’s last words were, “You take good care of these dogs!”

And sleep-tight nights with books piled high throughout the house.

From “Fasten Your Seatbelt!” and “Watch Your Speed – You Know They Hide Up Here!”

I’m from the glass house of a Southern Baptist preacher dad, the closed curtains and deadbolted doors  

of a maddening mother.

I’m “Kimberly – (English) from the royal fortress meadow,”my birth meadow the Okefenokee Swamp,

     cracked pecans, a churn of homemade peach ice cream.

From Georgia Lee and Eunice and Miriam, whose long-gone but lingering voices of dementia prompt

      reluctant visits….  to the pantry….  to be sure…. I can still…. smell the peanut butter.

I am from these haunted corners – holding on to the jagged edges of life,

      sometimes remembering, sometimes wanting to forget, always wishing their voices were still here.
               –  Kimberly Haynes Johnson