Patrick Metoyer: From Where I Am

Southern Legitimacy Statement

river town
sleepy town
spicy foods
filé gumbo
sultry air
pop guns
china berry trees
joie de vivre
laissez bon temps rouler

From Where I Am

I come from a 300-year-old settlement in Louisiana
a river town
a sleepy town

I come from native French speakers whose
language is as spicy as their native foods
jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo

I come from languid lands where time stands
hairs on one’s head twist
curl frizz in sultry air

I come from the creole trinity of onions peppers celery
sauteed ’til crystal clear spiking
taste buds in my mind, my heart, my tongue

I come from red clay sweaty
swamps forests of
scented pine

I come from a hilltop house on a
dirt road circling a towering tree
home of wayward birds

I come from walks to town Saturday matinees
double features cowboys Indians
ten cents a show

I come from silent cemeteries – final beds
mattresses – of great-grandparents
I did not know

from them – from there I come
from where I was – from where I will be
I come from where I am