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Where I’m From

I write about life, about memories, flavours, and flavour memories. My parents are often woven in. How could they not be? They were there, they set the stage. Sometimes I ask their permission, sometimes I just run with it. It’s a selfish endeavour, harvesting memories and sharing them in print. It’s my version of life. My rose-coloured version. I’m sure there have been a few characters in my stories over the years who have wanted to raise their hand and say, hey, wait a second…

And now it’s my turn. I’m sitting in a pile of end of year stuff – the scrunched paper from the bottom of the back packs, art projects, dog-eared binders, classroom sneakers and old sandwich containers. My kids shove ‘the stuff they never want to see again’ into a recycling bag. But after they leave, I take a look through for the odd treasure I’d like to keep. I pass over math practice tests, vocabulary words and rough drafts of essays. Then, I find this.

Soccer ball in the garden

Where I’m From 
by Rex Wilson

I am from a soccer ball in the grass and the smell
of an old cat in my house.
From Sweet Jane’s up the road and the
amazing taste of pasta. 

My heart warms, but I think wait a second… my house DOES NOT smell like an old cat. Or does it?

I am from my old cat dying
and when I got a new one.
from my brothers Charlie and Luke who sometimes play with me,
to my parents James and Lindsay who I make cookies with

It’s true. We make cookies together, Rex sitting on the counter, legs crossed as he leans over the mixer, ready to steal some cookie dough, like his mother used to do when she was little. Like his mother still does.

Tuna melts with cucumber

I am from when I first went skiing at Sugarloaf, and
playing football with my brothers
and my cousins and playing basketball
I am from the loving taste
of tuna melts when my mom is gone
and the sweet taste of muffins when me and my
mom make them. To having Caesar salad for dinner. 

The fridge could be full of leftovers – spaghetti, curry, chicken noodle soup, anything. But if I’m not home, the boys (husband included) will reach for the same thing, every time: a can of tuna. The broiler is turned on, a baking tray comes out, the one designed for pizza that is full of small holes. I know this because afterwards the counter is always full of tiny toast crumbs, the kind that fall through tiny holes.

I am from food, family, sports and fun. 

I got off pretty easy. He didn’t say the Caesar dressing comes from the grocery store. He didn’t share the muffin recipe we always make, the one with a mountain of sugar and lots of chocolate chips. He didn’t say I make him listen to easy listening in the kitchen as we bake. Always. But he did paint a picture of his life, through his eyes.

Where I’m From. It’s a good exercise, this poem.

I am from a soccer ball in the grass,
the one that flew over the fence several months ago,
and we have yet to fling it back.

I am from a kitchen full of morning light
from a space full of vegetables,
cookies and store bought Caesar dressing

I’m from songs that fill my kitchen and pull at my heart
from tears in the kitchen, usually the sentimental kind
I’m from a cup of coffee that my husband made

I am from a plate of radishes, with butter and sea salt
I am from friends who teach me snacks like these
I am from a plate made from a potter in the city over the bridge

I am from boys who tease, mumble and eat lots of cereal
from boys who scrunch their papers at the bottom of their backpacks
from poems that emerge from the bin, filled with sweetness, old cats and flavours of life