I am from the city of tulips.
Iowa, the heart of the Midwest.
I am from county-line road,
gardens blanketed with asparagus and strawberries.
From whimpering lab puppies under heat lamp,
to worm-hunting after rain.
I am from the smell of fresh cookies,
the crackle of pizza rolls on an open fire.
I am from Dutch costumes
in the twin’s parade down Main Street.
From carving my name in the kitchen table
with the butt of my fork.
I am from sledding in a cornfield,
tornadoes dancing above my head.
I am from star-gazing and catching fireflies
in dusty mason jars.
From green bean casserole
at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving.
I am from Third Church,
Sunday school and note-taking during sermons.
I am from the secret door
in the laundry room behind the dresser.
From Monopoly under candlelight
during high waters.
I am from losing a cousin
to a car accident down South.
I am from the Garden of Eden
and the Earth under my feet.
From the belief that everything
happens for a reason.
I am from finding myself
in a world against me.
I am from black dots
on a staff and eighty-eight keys.
From music as an expression
of the soul through a Dutch front.
I am from rainbow flags
Waving through crisp air in June.
I am from fighting for who I am
and the right to love in all ways.
From standing up for the things
That should be common sense.
I am from me,
the only me I choose to be.