I’ve been working on this for a while, but sporadically. I don’t know if it’s finished or if it ever will be finished. This is really scary for me. But here’s what I got so far…

I’m from a hillside bushed by more wild black berries than your belly can bear
From the hottest two weeks of July
From an big orange ‘mater patiently ripening itself on a windowsill
From yesterday’s sweet tea
From cold banana puddin’
From a fried baloney sandwich on white bread
I’m from a mess of turnip greens in a paper sack

I’m from lightnin’ bugs
From June bugs
From grasshoppers
From tadpoles
From crawdads
From house flies

I’m from skeeters
From ticks
From chiggers

I’m from a section of gravel road darkened by a dense deciduous canopy
From the car-caused rattle of a one-lane wooden bridge
From going up the hill in 2nd
From going through The Holler in 4th
From stop signs that everybody just kinda rolls right through
I’m from within walkin’ distance of the County Line

I’m from a gulp of chilly October air spiced by a simmering barn-pot of dark fire

I’m from a ghost man on first and a five Mississippi rush

I’m from hayrides
From cake walks
From turkey shoots
From bonfires
From fish fries
From going to church after school to watch a fight
I’m from leaving in a hurry when The Law comes

I’m from potluck dinners and living room jams
From country and coffee
From bluegrass and butter cookies
From a good-hearted woman
From a fox on the run
From a real life cacophony of Cadillac Cowboys
I’m from, “If you get lost, go back to G and wait on us”

I’m from climbing higher than I want to in a tree
From being more scared of not climbing it
From everything looking different after daylight
From Hank Jr. and Haggard on loop
I’m from leaving the tailgate down if you got one

I’m from the smell of chainsaw fumes mixed with sawdust
From sledge hammer stings on cold hands
From armloads of kindling
From emptying the ash box
I’m from the warmest spot in front of a wood-burning stove

I’m from walking The Creek with a Zebco 33 and a Winchester 22
From splashes at a rope swing
From handfuls of cold sips at a spring
I’m from having a sharp eye for good skippin’ rocks

I’m from always carrying a knife
From an outside dog as a running buddy
From a healthy respect for barbed wire fences
From knowing I can handle pretty much anything on my own

I’m from figuring out the day as I go
From more space than I know what to do with
From having plenty of time for all of it

I’m from having my name known by men
Whose names are known by everyone I know

I’m from no gloves
From no sunscreen
From no complaining
From a big spread at lunch
From having to work hard to scrub hard work off your hands

I’m from being led not into temptation
I’m from being delivered from evil

I’m from never thinking my childhood
Would be much more like my father’s
Than my children’s

I’m from the realization that what I’m from isn’t there anymore
I’m from the regret of not taking it with me when I left
I’m from the comfort of knowing it came with me anyway