Where I’m from*

I am from gravel roads and evergreens,
the pine needles drifting like snow banks.
I am from the harvest of apple trees
and freezers crammed with pies and sauces.
I’m from porch swings on summer days
and the lazy buzz of the tractor –
from steep, creaking farmhouse stairs
leading to unheated bedrooms in winter.
I am from the rusty windmill
and the well water beneath it.
I’m from the smells of thirsty corn
before the storm and the moist earth after.
I am from sale barn bleachers and cattle pens,
long-absent cows replaced by hoops and foul lines.
I am from the empty mile between neighbors
and the lone car fading in and out of hearing.
I’m from the county line road – neverland
between school districts and church parishes
and lucky winner of the longest bus ride.
I’m from the land of make believe and amuse
yourself, bereft of cable or public television.
I am from the vanishing rural school –
consolidated and renamed to boost
class size to a whopping 42.
I am from the ruthless practicality
of the farmer, who knows
the animals will be eaten,
the drought may or may not end, and
life happens as Mother Nature dictates.

*In response to a poem by George Ella Lyon.

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