Poetry

Geneology – Poem

He wanted to know my genealogy:

my marker of origin, a constellation of

thumbtacks on the wall-size map of history.

 

How long til we are all great

white sharks? Before the glaciers

cooled like hot-coco

 

this bay was a valley, the valley was a river

highway where Columbiam Mamoths

uncaked the mud of the day

by rubbing on rocks.

 

That’s how they rocked out. I told him:

my dad clicked taps

over harlequin floor tiles,

my mom waltzed well, as long as she could lead.

That’s not what I mean, he said.

 

But they loved me. And made me. These generations

are tassels on a scarf,

wrap it around your bare chest, and it all blends

 

together. He asked again, when I explained

my origin in the water running down squares

of the screen of my bedroom window. We need

 

this rain to ease our breath. Go back

 

far enough, we’re all the same. But he doesn’t

agree, get this, so I could write him off

 

as unrelated— an appositive

in the sentence of my life. But instead, I answer:

 

I am Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. I am King Edward II

Plantagenet. I am a handful of the forgotten Mayflower

pilgrims who lasted through winter at Plymouth Rock.

 

And it’s true. These are the people whose sex led to me.

Is this good?

 

They came before, but never knew me. What

matters more? Isn’t the question invitation enough?

 

I am the Farallon Islands in the future

of a people whose valley is now covered by sea.

 

I’m more concerned with the ships.

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