I come from a big red barn,
From newlywed dreams of pigs and beef cattle
And maybe a few cats to keep the mice out of the corncrib.
I come from piles of warm, sleepy kittens,
From puffy tails, shaped like Christmas trees,
And insistent mewing than quiets only
When there is something interesting to chase.
I come from Varnes & Hoover Hardware,
From rows of shiny brass lanterns and sparkling Mason jars,
Where the cheerful Amish gentleman behind the counter
Is just as polite to the girl in the T-shirt that reads, in neon green,
“MY FEET HURT FROM KICKING SO MUCH ASS”
As he is to the woman in the pristinely pressed bonnet.
I come from grilled pork in barbeque,
From salads with sugar and mayonnaise
And overstuffed subs sold by the thousand
To pay a boy’s medical bills.
I come from toasted olive-nut sandwiches
At the Olympia Candy Kitchen,
Where patrons shake their heads and say airily,
“You just can’t find this anywhere else.”
I come from wide-open prairie skies,
Blue and hazy all day, inky black all night,
And in between, a glorious palette of golden-tinged pastels
That demands further investigation,
That demands you stop and gaze.
I come from an old, weathered pier, with flaking white paint,
From crawdads and leeches and seaweed
And the delicate balance between the hot skin of the water’s surface
And the cold, murky, uncertain depths below
That vulnerable toes would rather avoid.
I come from prizewinning eggplants and Merino sheep,
From the Big Pig sleeping on a pile of damp hay
And fluffy, trembling rabbits and feisty draft horses
And gowns with perfect, even seams
Made by tiny, deft fingers
Whose skills I can only dream of, three times older.
I come from lazy, roundabout conversations
About kids and baseball games;
From the pause between catching up and resuming a life lived apart,
From counting rail cars at a crossing,
So fully focused on the moment
That weightier matters slip away; instead,
128 (plus two locomotives) is all that ever mattered
in the whole wide world.