A Template Poem

Where I’m From

I am from faded linoleum,
from a green ʼ73 Chevy Impala
and green vinyl recliner.
I am from the yellow bungalow.
(Crowded, square,
it substituted
for something far older.)
I am from the weeping willows,
the Dutch elms
that all died
when I was thirteen.

I’m from keeping up appearances
and failing spectacularly,
from Orrin and Doris.
I’m from the overbearing and the timid,
from You’re not leaving that table
until you eat everything on your plate,
from A few Catholics get to heaven
in spite of their church
and I prayed to St. Jude before you were born.
I’m from There was fire on the roof
when the Spirit came down
and Jane O’Connor’s mother genuflected
and crossed herself
in the aisle of the Waterloo theatre.

I’m from Ames Road and the Ryans,
Dad’s slumgullion and Mom’s rhubarb pie.
From the dance above the general store
where my grandparents met,
the accordion Amos played
with a steady foot tap.

Up high on the bedroom closet shelf,
two unsorted boxes of memories
and ten photo albums.
Faces fixed in time,
I always reached for their firm,
immovable stories,
the time when life was better,
before I was born.

In writing this I used a template based on a poem by George Ella Lyon.

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7 thoughts on “A Template Poem

  1. I thought this was powerful and quite good. The template didn’t keep from your voice coming through and painting a picture as you wove a mystery through who you were, and how you came to know how you got where you are. Well done. Gay @beachanny

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