Writing prompt #1: “Where are you from?”
(an exercise in imagery)
I am from rough cedar walls
that gave me a sliver if I rubbed them the wrong way.
I am from pomegranates as big as my head,
nibbling and savoring tiny seeds, dripping its red juice
in the grass and shadows of Autumn afternoons.
I am from jars and jars,
shelves upon shelves
of canned peaches and apricots-
their orange flesh pressed against the bumpy glass signature of “Ball” or “Mason” .
I’m from rolling down grassy hills, avoiding metal sprinklers at all costs,
and landing at the bottom wrapped in laughter and itchy grass.
I’m from an oasis, standing in the middle of the desert,
but you’ll find, instead of palm trees, they’re mostly fruit,
and instead of a freshwater pond, a pool surrounded with hot cement and brown tile,
and two automatic pool sweepers named “Bill” and “Ted”.
I am from dancing in the family room
to Captain and Tennille records
following the lead of my tall, lanky sister teaching me to find my first “moves.”
I am from Barbie afternoons and Fisher Price mornings,
from architectural masterpieces made from books and blocks
from forts of purple blankets,
(or, big brother traps for innocent baby sisters),
I am from a playroom, long and skinny, filled with toys, books, and magic.
I am from whole wheat and honey, peanut butter, and orange juice.
I am from sizzling onions crackling in my ears and wafting past my nose in the anticipation of dinner.
I am from kneeling with arms folded and then a tumultuous race to the table,
from licking my plate to call my “spot”
but still ending up with my small frame shoved to the middle,
sandwiched between at least two bodies on each side
on that long sturdy wood bench,
no way out.
I am from defending my food from older brothers.
I am from eating my vegetables in order to get dessert and crossing my fingers
in hopes that it didn’t have nuts or raisins.
I am from splashing and kicking,
from Marco and Polo,
from sharks and sardines,
from living a second life as a fish.
I am from loud, playful days and hushed cricket nights
with Mom’s final warnings of bedtime, checking each child down the row.
I am from the number ten.
I am from a place holding both love and chaos,
a wooden sculpture forever imprinted on my mind.
There, sitting at 3440 East Harmon, I am from trees and grass and water:
a large house of brick and cedar wood that sometimes
sneaks into my dreams,
blowing the familiar wooded scent through my mind,
flooding it with a thousand memories.
by Laura Archibald
Where are you from?