Challenge from Stefani Boutelier: write a Where I’m From poem.
Kim Haynes Johnson
I am from the antique bookcases of rare books,
from paperbacks, to Childcraft volumes, to modern bestsellers –
anything to prevent an introvert’s insanity.
I am from the Johnson Funny Farm in rural Georgia
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 Chanticleer
mistakenly believes that he is necessary.
I’m from one side where everything has a place
and everything’s in it,
and the other that is full of long-lost surprises
in the heaps of clutter.
From Haynes and Jones.
I’m from the wake-up dog breath
full-face kisses of Boo Radley
the valiant nightwatch-Schnoodle
and his sidekick Schnauzer brother Fitz
who sleep 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 wanting to forget,
always wishing their voices were still here.