Where Love Measures Wealth

I am from climbing trees and scraped knees, 

from “privacy is a privilege” and tomboy kingdom. 

I am from a town of eight-hundred people. 

My family tree spread half of them, 

we had to cross-check my love interests – just to be safe. 

I am from a home where bottled Busch Light was luxury 

and Jim Beam was high class.  

From great-grandma’s banana bread and a lousy stepfather. 

I’m accustomed to sixty-hour work weeks and callused hands. 

Tired calves from bicycles and twenty bucks to mow the lawn. 

I am from humble, never struggle but never boast. 

I am from diabetes but add more sugar. 

From parental grandparents and ghost in the graveyard. 

From a mostly single mother and a revolving door of dads. 

Bookshelves stocked full, Nikes on my feet – 

If I was wearing shoes. Oldest sibling, built-in nanny. 

From a long line of gingers and two younger sisters. 

Eerily enough, they’re repeating my story. 

So, I fill the dad shoes I never had filled. 

I still wear Nikes, but I wear New Balances, too.


Kendyl Cunningham is a third-year undergraduate student studying Marketing and Writing Intensive English. This piece is based on her family and her life growing up. Kendyl used it as a moment of reflection for her roots and her wonderful family, while also paying homage to the role she currently plays for her family.