II Am From
I am from red, bricked roads on Seventh street
From stained clothing and dirty feet
I am from an old white house where the fighting was indiscreet
Cracked wood floors, broken windows, slammed doors
I am from the green grass that surrounds these sores
The tall trees that gave me shade before
I am from distant yelling and my bedroom smelling
From “when will it stop … there is no telling”
I’m from the fire inside me to make things change: the frustration, the pain
From “don’t be so vain” and “don’t ask for help, they’ll call you insane”
I’m from a family who only went to church to not seem so inhumane
I’m from too many small towns, I’ve learned to find hope in the rain
My journals are filled to the brim, with the words I wish I could say to him
I’m getting out of here, everything I have learned about love is solely from within
I Am From
My childhood is filled with laughter,
Of my brother’s drumming and my sister’s piano,
Shared Crabby Patties and mustard yellow walls,
Of my grandparents with an ancient house,
That smelled like home cooking and old wax melts,
And sounded like quiet conversing and Cartoon Network,
And the “head ’em up and move ’em out”
That preceded a short drive home every Friday night.
Of my shared room with a creaky bunk bed and a neon karaoke.
Dancing to the beat of Kroeger and Hetfield,
And singing our hearts out to our favorite boy bands.
Performing for our friends made of stitches and stuffing.
Of summer days spent on the Xbox 360,
In a room that perfumed of dust and cat hair,
Mining away and crating my own world,
And the sound of melancholy instrumental,
That is forever etched in my memories.
Of marveling at the Mp3’s slick design,
And never getting enough of Dad’s playlists.
Of watching Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings,
And feeling like I was a part of something magical.
Of training wheels, fireflies, and sidewalk chalk,
Making stew with rain water and grass clippings,
And checking on our fairy house for any lost Tinkers.
My childhood is filled with Happy Meals,
And a 30-minute drive home from Vacation Bible School.
Of my brother’s new license and his old and tiny convertible,
That always had its top down.
Of friendship bracelets and Wonder Loom bands,
And never leaving the house without a citric sent.
And though I may cringe at some of my fashion choices,
I can’t help feeling a sense of nostalgia
Whenever I see hot pink leggings, leopard print, and hand-me-down Hollister.
I know that my sister is the only person who truly understands
The growth and happiness these experiences gave me.
These times may have come and gone,
But the memories will always live on
In the after-school talks and nights spent in each other’s rooms,
Over shared snacks and shared earbuds.
On recipes that remind us of our grandma’s cooking,
And remembering how the world will always be more magical in our young eyes.
Where I’m From
by Evelyn Smiley (Age 9, Matthews, NC)
I’m from my mom’s dining corner in the dining room
and Thanksgiving Dinners.
I’m from knitting and sewing
while watching football on the couch.
I’m from yummy pizza nights at the beach
with garlic rolls and black olive pizzas.
I’m from eating Ruffles with French Onion Dip,
while listening to Walker Hayes.
I’m from loving 4th grade
with Sofia and Estella.
I’m from baking cookies in the winter,
Christmas Eve sleepovers,
and helping the homeless.
I’m from cheering for the Panthers and Bills.
I’m from my preschool teachers,
Ms. Michelle and Ms. Fowler.
I’m from the sadness of my two cats,
Jax and Benji,
who loved catnip.
I’m from soccer and chess and playing catch with my brother.
I’m from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,
checking out at the library.
I’m from Mac and Cheese,
I’m from Brownies,
Ice Cream Cake,
I’m from fun neighbors,
who taught me how to sew.
I’m from the middle of the woods.