i am from red clay and backroads.

streets of dirt and gravel, turn-at-the-red-mailbox- driveways

calves and chicks and piglets growing “just old enough”

across the black ocean of asphalt.

i am from steeples and pulpits

singing every verse, piano and organ

burst forth from the loins of grace

and the womb of mercy

“praise Him”, they say

but, i wait

my mother, tourniquet and cinder-block

chicken pot pie and biscuits and

(unconditional love)

diagnosis

amoxicillin withered into promethazine, and methotrexate

chemo.

tired eyes, salt-and-pepper straw, in bed by 7

healing,

managing.

my father, dark roast and devotion

10:55 sermon, 3:00 prayer meeting, service at 5:00

serving others

withered into going to bed with the door unlocked

“he’ll be home later”

knees scraped to the bone

from the force of the hands

holding me in a kneel.

listening to the chorus of souls, chanting

“what he does is more important than you”

put up or shut up

my y chromosome longs to really meet its donor

howling at the moon, sleeping on the doormat

waiting for the “click” of the open and close

even if it comes too late

i am from clenched fists.

flushed cheeks, furrowed brows

“How dare you say that?” and

“You can’t hide it from me.”

stay in the lines

repeat the words

written on the script

by the ones who created me without my asking.

two things:

1. we will always love you

2. you can always come home