I am from the aprons of Sevilla, Rosella, Perdella.
From suited men twirling pocket chains
While their children churned earth.
From farmers like Robert, Jess, Isaac.
Sunup to sundown laboring the narrow hollows
And steep hillsides of Appalachia
From the dirt scrape of a woman
Who walked out of her poverty
Into the thick books of possibility.
From the lanky boy who, at fourteen
When his father died, hired himself out,
Fifteen cents a day, all to his mother.
I am from dusty corn cribs,
From crawfish and ancient stone axes
Hiding in the streams of August water.
From I incantations of lamentations
sown by bloody heels into
the furrows of summer afternoons.
From my Grandmother’s snuff tin,
From tattered hymnals
And 22’s filled with buckshot.
From the scratch of chickens,
the taste of fresh raw milk,
delicate home-canned peaches in December.
I am from pockets full of purple hearts
Where bronze stars, deep in the cedar chest,
Guard the nightmares of midnight.