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.