I am from sunscreen,
from Coppertone and Banana Boat.
I am from the green basement stairs.
(Faded and worn from many visitors.)
I am from the leaves on the
neighbors’ tree that lean
into our yard.
I am from Angler’s Haven and Katie
I am from the strong ones.
I am from Stephens.
I am from the stone-faced Irish
and the soft-hearted Catholics.
I am from I’ll Love You Forever.
I am from John Mellancamp saying
“Hold onto sixteen as long as you can.”
And from Petty saying I can learn to fly.
I am from St. Patrick,
believing firmly in what he respects.
I am from Oak Lawn.
I am from Ireland.
From corned beef and cheese pizza.
I am from the scar on Seamus’s head.
I am from the length of my father’s arm
which carried many children to safety.
From the palms of my mother’s hands,
That showed many women their first
child for the first time.
I am from the deck of our south side home
Gray with age, wear, and memories.
I am from those moments—
A side only insiders can see—
Insiders from my family tree.