I Am From…Shoe Stores

I am From poem, written with the Alois Alzheimer Group, Found Voices.
Annette J. Wick

I am from shoe stores
musky cardboard boxes cradling women’s heels.
From a father who spent nights
calmed by the whir of the adding machine.
Lilac bushes – one white, one violet
at the back corners
of the house on Ridgeland Dr.

I am from apple trees and stealing Mr. Wittes’ apples.
From sledding hills and Harold, the tractor driver,
who mowed the grass at the sanitarium.
I am from passion and temper, gerbils and rabbits,
but never a puppy or kitten.

I am from parties for every birthday, communion and confirmation,
and from my father pulling at the covers
on Sunday morning, calling us to church.

I am from beefsteak tomatoes, hanging like Christmas ornaments,
in the garden, and thick tomato sauce always on the stove.
From 26 different kinds of Italian cookies – some with no names at all.

I am from families dispirited and hearts that have healed.
From Mother leading us in nighttime childhood prayers,
“Dear God, please watch over us,”
and the family motto, “To go where there is need.”

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