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"I Am From" by Robyn Joy

Gary Miller

I AM FROM my mother, who is from her mother, who was hidden with her mother in an attic when she was learning what it was to be in this world. I wonder how much of that DNA passed to my mother and then to my sister and my brother and finally to me. I’ve felt a visceral fear of abandonment since I was a baby, but I was always well cared for, too much so sometimes, due to how ill and tiny and sensitive I was. Is this DNA where it comes from?

I am from a house with quiet murmurs and secrets that I don’t really understand yet. A family that looked and still looks lovely and loving from outside, but uses over-sharing and personal traumas as weapons in conversation.

I am from the ether.

I am from lonely winter days and endless summer ones where we played hide and seek and green eyed ghost as a neighborhood.

I am from Billy Martin’s cologne and the sweetness of Southern Comfort burning my throat as I flirted with anyone who was interested in a girl with a hole somewhere deep in her ribs that she could never fill, no matter how much she poured in. I am from parties where we drank too much and smoked too much and made “bad decisions” that are now remembered as assaults and crimes.

I am from people that no longer talk to me because my sobriety makes them uneasy, makes them look at their never-ending glasses of red, wondering why I stopped when everything was just fine.