WEWOKA, OKLAHOMA — When Jeanetta Calhoun- Mish left these Seminole County back roads out of high school she had no idea they would circle back as often as they have.
“I drive toward the Canadian River. It calls to me,” reads a line in a poem she wrote called ‘Storyteller’.
“One of my biggest inspirations is thinking about home,about where we are here in this Seminole County area” she says.
“Doe it always come back to that?” asks one of her readers?
“It seems to,” she replies. “Absolutely a sense of place.”
Her mother read poetry to her growing up.
Jeanetta wrote her first poem as a second grader.
“The tires hum, an intermittent rain sprinkles the windshield,” The Storyteller continues. “A shy moon hides behind a veil of black clouds.
Every since, call them mile markers, or sign posts along her own path, she would write poems about the people in her life and the places that mattered most.
“It seems to be my thing,” she admits. “So I’ll just keep writing it until I’m not writing it any more.”
So her family’s farm northwest of town, the creeks and ‘barking waters’ from which Wewoka are named, the old Mains Street; those memories formed her words.
A poems called Remnats reads, “At 8:30 on Thursday mornings Mrs. Cohen would roll deep canvas bins out onto the breeze way of her dry goods store.”
The highways took her far beyond Number 9.
Mish didn’t go to college until later in life.
She didn’t publish her work right away either.
Home changed some while she was gone.
“A lot of the small towns in this part of Oklahoma are much smaller than they were,” she says.
But it’s still home.
The way the road curves, which plants grow, the boundaries of her old world are still there.
“I am coming home,” reads the last stanza of ‘Storyteller’. “I am listening everywhere for your voice.”
It’s just that Jenetta Calhoun- Mish describes them in a way no one else can.
To read more of her poetry or learn more about her go to www.jeanettacalhounmish.com