From the Junk Drawer

I have the honour of participating in SheLoves Magazine's Synchroblog – I Am From. People sharing poetic versions of ourselves, our histories, our cultures, our influences and intersections. 
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From the Junk Drawer
E. Thomas, September 2013 

 

I am from the junk drawer

from lost keys and bits of pencil with the ends chewed off,

able to open forgetten doors,

useful for last minute inspirations on napkins

but preferrable in the dark,

kept hidden away

I am from the basement where it’s cool, where I was allowed
to play in the backyard but I’m not anymore,

where the windows are small,

the hiding places are safe… sometimes…

I am from the moss on the stones by home — green, wet, existing on little but rock

Soft and pliant, but almost impossible to rip away

but when ripped

gaping wounds drip from the rock

and the moss dries up.

I’m from new starts and painful pasts

from Mom and Dad

I’m from trips across Canada and homemade pizza on Christmas
Eve

            and still
from the basement with shadowy friends haunting only me
tearing my breathing to ribbons,

stealing my sleep

buying my silence

adding interest to my fear — interest I compounded

with downcast eyes

unreleased muscles

cracked teeth and grinding jaws 

I’m from white trash and dark moods

           evil… the wrong side of oppression but also the wrong side of the tracks

I'm from a no-win place… wishing now I'd realized it wasn't about winning… 

holding the whips over some,
but being whipped by others, skin tones mirroring my own

            Who did what to whom? For skin colour? Then why me? Why them? Why the whip?

I never understood

my privilge

            My privilege seemed always to come at the cost of my spine, vertabrae enduring lashes from mockeries and homilies 

I'm from Wynken, Blynken and Nod, sailing off in wooden shoes

an escape from the basement

I’m from Toronto and England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

… no one more WASP than I… some days I only hold my head up to see where I'm going

I'm from British missionaries planting themselves in downtown Toronto,

people willing to live with the dirty, stinky others… white
missionaries whose touch was balm to some, but a lash to others

I'm from the piece of leftover cast that wrapped my leg when I was born

with a crooked foot

not quite straight

not quite fitting together

not quite whole

still sitting on Nana’s shelf thousands of miles away

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