From Cornbread & Collards


Like thousands across this nation, I start back to school next week. My graduate program was always going to be through distance learning so Covid doesn’t disrupt that. As this week’s DNC proved, there is a lot to be gained from virtual realities. Narrative become a focal point. We are exposed to a much more diverse audience than we might have discovered otherwise.  Who doesn’t love that?

The following is fashioned after Georgia Lyon’s Where I am from poem.  It’s an assignment designed to help incoming students get to know one another. I thought it might be fun if you were so inspired to try writing your own. Feel free to share it if you do. I’d love to read them.

From Cornbread and Collards 

I am from tobacco,

from tin can snuff and Prince Albert’s papers.

I am from the 12 x 60, pressboard stapled,

roosting on cinder blocks, no tree to shade it.

I am from monkey grass, edges folded,

like the pages of a well-read book.


I am from biscuits cut with the steel mold she used

before taking leave.

This time for good.

This time forever, though it wasn’t her choice

This time.


I am from Dave’s strong heart,

and Shelby’s headstrong,

from Root little pig or die,

and He don’t know shit from shinola.


I am from warshed in the Blood of Jesus, twice,

From the Apostle’s Creed,

and the only thing I know for sure –

God is good,

no matter how bad we may be.


I am from a misguided Germany and

a willfully racist Republic,

no union with those who consider it God’s will

to oppress people of color,

women and children.


I am from a country of people who will feed you cornbread

and collards straight from their garden,

then condemn you to hell before your dinner’s had time to digest.

They wear Jesus tattoos proudly,

but don’t ask them to put on a mask.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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