This poem was written by Isabelle King during a five week writers-in-residence program at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. It’s an origin story, with a pace that reminds us of the effervescent quality of memories, and the sensory images that remain in each of us over time.
I am from damp towels,
From downy blankets and friendly pillow cases.
I am from the rushing water lapping at the shore,
The feeling of cold rocks beneath my toes.
I am from gentle flowers with scents as sweet as honey,
To the pine tree’s that line my yard like watching sentinels in the dark.
Whose long gone limbs I remember
As if they were my own.
I’m from sit down dinners and open eyes ready to observe,
From Minna and David always in each other’s hearts.
I’m from countless squabbles with my kin and teary-eyed apologies
And from peaceful nights with nothing said at all.
I’m from open hearts to everyone and friends are all around
And to never take more than you can give.
I’m from Christmas nights spent with open lids.
I’m from California bright and true and Switzerland a winter wonderland,
And snowball fights in many frozen valleys
And roasted vegetables served most nights.
From a Russian princess running from her town,
Forced to flee against her will.
Grandmas house is always welcome,
with the big gold medallion in the front.
With paintings made by all of us hung on the walls.
By Isabelle King