Though I don’t live far from where I’m from
it seems a distant place, like a memory, 
though I could walk the dirt out there most any day I choose.
There’s something true about life in the present that stirs
the need to stay connected to the past, 
to sit with it on the back porch savoring a glass of sweet tea,
every tick of the clock moving me further away from my roots. 

I know I can’t go back, but I need handfuls
of what made me, but not too much lest I get buried in nostalgia.
I must acknowledge what has changed--- and what hasn’t;
what I think about where I’m from is mine----alone.
There are things I don’t miss. Still,
I’ll always have some of what made me
stuffed in my pocket with the Doublemint,
like the way to make gravy from drippings, ice cream from Orange Crush, strawberries soaked in sugar and Pet Milk.

There are some things I never became, 
things I could have learned had the opportunity not slipped past— 
piecing quilts and hanging them on a frame. 
I’ll never plant gardens like my grandmothers--- 
I walked behind them in the dust of my growing, participated, 
but I did not apprentice. I’ll never can tomatoes or put up chow-chow.  
The purple hull peas have slipped through my hands. 

Yesterday, I parted the air, slipped out 
into the soupy summer day, 
picked mint from the pot,
made a pitcher of tea with stevia. 
Stood on the front porch of the future
thankful for what was and for what is---
and to my surprise, 
for what will never be.


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