I am from used ice skates
purchased by my mother from Goodwill on a frigid winter’s day
while we were in school bundled against the cold
seeping through thin glass windows
of the four room school house
built by my Grandpa Arko near the Stockyards.
I am from the storefront
of my Grandpa Gorniak’s shoe shop and radio repair
before my father’s TV repair shop staked its claim
in the white stucco building
with two bedrooms,
one for me and one for grandpa,
and a pullout couch in the living room for my mom and dad.
The house where my mom grew up
and raised six brothers and sisters
while grandma proselytized.
It was home.
I am from the South Platte River
across Washington street and behind Annie’s house.
The river that would rise one day,
over its banks
because no one would blow up the railroad trestle
as my dad said they should
and my mom’s wedding dress,
and her wooden skis she wanted to hang above a fireplace
in a new house someday
were victims of the muck.
I’m from potica at Christmas
and the town drunk
who would come to the back door
the day before
to get a slice of the best one in town
made by my mom
and she always shared
From my mom, Annette
and my dad, Lex,
who joined together to make not only me,
their third try and only survivor,
but my name, too, Lexanne.
I’m from too much drink
and dreaming too big of dreams that never came true.
From never miss Mass on Sunday
and practice your piano.
I’m from the Roman Catholic Church
that would crumble in my heart
from lies and cover-ups
and not accepting me for who I am,
I’m from Globeville
with the Polish Catholic Church
across the street from the Solvenian Catholic Church
while the Russian Orthodox Church
just blocks away
sat near the swimming pool
where bikinis came into fashion
and Annie’s son became a priest.
and pickled pigs feet
graced holiday tables
with relatives beginning and ending each celebratory day,
the original moveable feast,
at our house
because my mom was the best cook in town
and everybody knew it,
even the aunts who were older
and had more practice.
But the mornings were nicer,
the evenings brought loud voices
and alcohol breath
and noisy television to drown out the revelry.
From the gas station next door,
Gus, the attendant,
who lifted the abandoned puppy
from the hands of the bus driver
and set it in my backyard,
a backyard skirted by the off ramp of 1-70.
The urging of my mom
to see what was under the bush, and
discovering the little black fur-ball
that would live for almost twenty years more
and at the end
break the heart of my father and mother
when I was grown and gone from home.
In the basement
fading into the past.
I am from where we learned to pick up
and move on
and not do too much looking back.
I have finished my poetry course and am in the process of editing earlier work using the tools I gathered and , hopefully, the knowledge I gained.
This poem was from Lesson One. We used a template. I’ve seen this in similar forms at other writing classes, but, strangely enough, had never written it myself.
When I wrote this I was on a three day silent retreat.
Today seems like an appropriate day to post this. May 12 is not only Mother’s Day this year, but my birthday as well.