To Know Deep In My Marrow: I Was Not From There

By Colleen O’Mara

I Am From

I am from carob tree pea pods
that tasted bitter when you bit into them.
From sow bugs that rolled
into a little ball
when your child’s fingers touched them.

I am from long, lacy dresses.
A special one each year for Easter Sunday morning.

I am from concrete freeways
and cracked sidewalks.
Houses that look alike
each fourth lot.

I am from laughter out loud
and yelling in silence.

I am from a love that did not last.
Two sweethearts melted away.
I am from older sisters
who tolerated
who protected
who despised
who resented

And who wore your new shoes
before they were taken from the box.

I am from long days
playing in the yard
until the sun set
and it was too dark
to see my feet.

From the savory scent of meat and potatoes,
dinners wafting through
the kitchen window.

From Mother on the phone
to back East.
Sipping from her screw top
white wine glass,
ice cubes
clinking in the air.

I am from trying hard to remember
what it felt like
smelled like
sounded like
what it meant

to live in that house
the youngest of the youngest of the youngest.

And to know
deep in my marrow:
I was not from there.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition.


Colleen O'Mara

Born and raised in the supposed cultural wasteland of Los Angeles, Writer Colleen O'Mara was weaned on bad ‘70s television, concrete freeways, and Barbie dolls. Leaving behind the post-modern suburb of her childhood in the San Fernando Valley, Colleen moved a decade+ ago to live beside the Pacific Ocean. She now resides in a historic Mid-Century home in Venice, California -- an "Urban Bohemia by the Sea" where she writes about her emerging community and all the funny, poignant, and powerful experiences that life in Venice brings her way.

  1. Lisa Marguerite Mora

    I love this poem. It takes my breath away.

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