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I Am From The North Country - Rogers

Clarissa V. Rogers

I Am From the North Country

(inspired by George Ella Lyon)


I am from rows of small houses

With carefully tended backyards

Streets with crooked sidewalks

Still enough for Saturday afternoon middle-of-the-road kickball games

Of a backyard maple tree, golden in autumn

Of long months of winter snow forts

That melt into robins & crocuses

I am from the north country.


I am from Trixie Belden & Nancy Drew mystery novels,

Good Housekeeping magazine,

And moms who traded romance novels up and down the block

From thick glasses falling down my nose and

Careful school-clothes shopping each August at the local mall


I am from a long line of drunks

Unable to admit they were afraid.

From late-night arguments denied in daylight

From gazing intently out the living-room picture window

At a flowering crab-tree

And a used car and pickup truck in the driveway,

Perched on the arm of the chair

Beside the octagon table

Waiting. Just waiting.


I am from 5 o’clock meat/potato/microwaved-vegetable dinners

and “Be home by dark”

I am from a ladybug shaped telephone

In my bright blue, tiny, teen-aged bedroom that

Chirped instead of ringing


I am from waiting with ferocious intensity

to hear that chirp


I am from white people who use words

I now consider unspeakable

From casual homophobia

And cousins who got hit with a belt when they didn’t obey

From moms who fought with dads

To work outside the home

From too many secrets


I am from those memories

Finished waiting by the window

For change to come