I am from los gatos and a glen of willow trees.
I am from rain and a boulevard of Magnolia’s.
I am from “Summer feet”
covered in dirt
scathing up trees, swinging from branches
drinking water from the fountain
from rhododendron cups.
Looking back it seems as though the water was
not only tainted with green moss and “things” from birds but
imagination and innocence
as if I needed anymore.
I am from “the little red wagon” and “little Olivia went to school”
sung to me from Granny Nanny’s lips as I fell asleep intertwined in her arms.
I am from nose tweaks, eyeball gouges, ear tugs, and back whacks
given to me by Papa from his recliner chair.
I am from chocolate chip cookies (but only the warm ones) and
raspberry jam spread on fresh rolls (but only the ones with the brown-sugared bottoms).
I am from a hot-blooded woman and a passive man
strung together by yells and screams and secrets I only found in stories told to me much later.
I am from “kill them with kindness” and “what other people think of you is none of your business”
words I follow only to build me up and break me down again.
In my heart is a yearning to leave home
but in my mind is screaming noise:
“Olivia,” said my mother.
“O,” hushed my father.
“Mama,” whispered my step-mother.
“Livie bee,” called my step-father.
“Oatsie,” spoke my sister.
“Olie,” sang my half-brother.
“Miller,” yelled my friends.
They bring me back.
I cannot hear my own thoughts with the noise.
They make me lost, where I can no longer hear myself.
In my solitude, I hear me.
In my own conversations to myself aloud and my own tears down my face
I hear myself.
Where I’ll go, I cannot say.
But if I’ll come home, I promise I will.