I am from bare feet in the summer, from a Volkswagen squareback and from tunnels dug through snowbanks.
I am from the tall white house set back from the street, pine tree out front leaving pitch zwischen meine Finger, on my knees, in meine Haare, on my clothes; I am from the quiet house above the sea, und aus dem Garten mit einem Kirschbaum.
Ich bin aus der Brennessel, the tiger lily, the crack of Donner on a hot August afternoon promising relief from the heat; from the pigweed, the Pusteblume, the trickle of snowmelt in mud season.
I am from gathering Steine and reading too late into the night, from Paul and Gisela and Ruth and Erika.
I am from travelers and from wandern im Wald.
From more than one way to skin a cat, from use your noggin, and from Übung macht der Meister.
I am from fire und singen und skepticism; I have found home among people of the book.
Ich bin aus Ostpreußen und England and Maine, from lobsters und Königsberger Klöpse.
From family stories: the teenager who listened to Harriet Beecher Stowe reading from Uncle Tom’s Cabin and went off to join the Union Army; the mother who passed children through the windows of a crowded rail car and then begged the soldiers to let her in with them, from fighting, from the tank that exploded on a land mine, from the shoe factory, from stories edited and burnished and just plain made up.
I am from Auburn and Harpswell and perhaps an archive somewhere in Deutschland, yellowing pictures curling from walls, librarians charged with remembering, moldering details buried for the forgetting.