I am

I am freshly laundered clothing

From tide and fabric softener

I am from the land of maple trees

Lush, green, buzzing with cicadas in the summer

I am from green parks

staining the knees of children's jeans

I'm from dinners on tray tables in front of the tv despite the dining room being steps away

Raucous laughter as my mom squeals at X Factor's latest gross stunt. 

Listening to her chastise my father for "putting this on while we're eating"

From Yvonne and Roger

I'm from chores on Saturdays neatly printed out on an excel spreadsheet for the month

Family road trips on Sundays to castles in NY seemingly forgotten by everyone but my father

I'm from "close the door this isn't a barn" and "get your hat off the bed" and "Why is your purse on the floor?"

I'm from church every once in a blue moon but, Kirk Franklin's cassette tape on repeat in the Cadillac

I'm from Maplewood, NJ; Mount Vernon, NY; anywhere in Virginia; Tulsa, Oklahoma


From the only Black officer on his naval ship

A Lieutenant Commander

The woman who worked harder than anyone I know to provide for her family despite the world insisting her age and her race took her out of play.

The family tree on so much poster board that it impressively expanded across the entire middle school hallway

The family history scribbled in the covers of worn bibles.

A record of American history written by the only honest historians I know