Where I come from.

by

My heritage is in listening to medical stories over dinner. This heart attack, that injury. Words spinning and dancing in the air, describing microwaving blankets to heat the up for boring night shifts. How the full moon makes everyone crazy. What this doctor said to that nurse, and always, the quiet thread of lives she has saved.

My heritage is in music, his stunning ability to sing and play the saxophone and just about any instrument he tried. Long walks in the woods, no place to go, all the time in the world to waste. Board games and letting me put make up on his face.

My heritage is lying in a bed while her older hands lightly trip across my skin, scratching my back and weaving stories together, telling me my future, the future of my sister. Sitting by her kitchen table, eating long johns and cheap hamburgers. Sitting in the dust, feet over water, fishing and listening to the rhythm of the world.

My heritage is in his books, his silences. Reader’s Digest condensed novels handed to me like some people offer seven year olds candy. Big bowls of popcorn, almond praline ice cream. Hose nose shines from my mother’s face, my sister’s.

My heritage, too, lies within myself. Hours alone in the woods, in fantasy worlds, climbing over fences into areas that were off limit. Endless filled notepads, playing with little people on my bookshelf and creating worlds for them, composing music during other empty hours and being absorbed and whole.

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