I am from

I am from books, from stories and words, from myths and legends and creepy German fairy tales.

I am from the sound of BachSchubertBrahms, morning noon and night, up through the floorboards into my very bones.

I am from Grandma’s homegrown swiss chard, boiled and vinegared, long before organic was cool.

From shag rugs and avocado kitchens, screen doors and open windows, bell bottoms, banana seat bikes, and the bicentennial. From music camp and made-up games and staring contests and belly laughs.

I am from questioning, arguing and analyzing; from keeping Webster’s Unabridged in the dining room; from believing that jokes only get better with every retelling. I am from the fifty-minute hour and “my mom says there’s no such word as acrost.”

I am from atheist Jews and church-allergic Protestants: from shtetl and suburb, Mayflower and Ellis Island, borscht and tater tots. From the Kilimanjaro climber, the orchestra conductor, the begonia breeder, the soldier who went AWOL, and the characters in a Sholom Aleichem story.

I am from woods and beach and field and lake, from interstates and country roads, from public schools and public pools, from a town with a poetic name.

I am from my country ’tis of thee, from the heartland, from the land of my heart.

From the people in my heart.