HomeSouthern VoiceWHERE I’M FROM

WHERE I’M FROM

by Sheila Evans

I’m from a Southern backyard —
Magnolia Grandiflora sporting huge white blooms
Honeysuckles spilling over the fence
Red roses soaked with the aroma of tea
Hollyhocks springing up yearly into flowering towers.

I’m from a Southern backyard —
Mud pies being made in the shadow of our magnificent pin oak tree
Mint leaves mysteriously exploding with flavor when chewed curiously
Milk pods’ white fluids being tasted without knowing they were poisonous.

I’m from a Southern backyard —
Bedroom window from which we crawled onto a table over a crawl space doghouse
to meet our coon hound Jethro in the light of the moon.
Bedroom window from which we each wandered on separate occasions
out of our yard into moonlit streets until being returned by kind policemen.

I’m from a Southern backyard —
Concrete foundation swirls that frighteningly resemble a gorilla’s face
Wooden swing from which we watched mad Mommy fleeing through the gate
Crawl space from which we heard our hound’s howls after Daddy’s death.

I’m from a Southern backyard — 
from which Mommy returned to the mental hospital after the funeral
from which we children went to live with barely known Northern kinfolk
into which other families came to spend their own lives being touched by its beauty.

 

Sheila Evans was born in the South and lived there until she was nine years old. The events described in this poem occurred during her childhood. She earned a degree in English, taught for two years and then spent her career as a computer professional. Now retired in Nederland, Colorado, she is returning to her first love. Everything in this poem is true, except she took poetic license to relocate the magnolia trees from the front yard to the back.

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