after George Ella Lyons
I’m from the family that doesn’t talk about it.
I’m from bruises under shirtsleeves
and secrets on the other side of darkened doorways.
Broken pyrex from Sunday dinner
curried shrimp and peas and shards of glass
swept up and put in the garbage
like it never happened.
I’m from speakeasies, poker games, and polka dancing.
Putting up pears in the fall and making cabbage rolls all winter long.
Where I’m from you better find something to do or I’ll find something for you.
I’m from woods thick with fallen leaves and dusty sunlight,
woodsmoke and bearded men with deer guns and beer cans
who might shoot your dog if she’s still outside at dusk.
I’m from the crazy quilt you find in the trunk of the attic;
bright and chaotic.
Dead relatives’ pajamas and overalls,
flannel and corduroy
stitched together with yarn.
Where I’m from, we’re all about second chances
because most of us didn’t know we were up the first time around.
Where I’m from ghosts walk among us
real as the stories we tell ourselves before going to sleep.
Where I’m from we’re trying to find peace,
in the corners we have retreated to.
Though no one is speaking
and most of us are dead.