One version of ancestry is legacy
a broad and surrounded valley
of both roots and flowers feeding
on each other’s settling stability
all that’s here is here and will be
drained out of the hills of novelty.
Another version often celebrated
but rarely lived out is pioneering
the massive and brave and lonely
migration over lands and shores
out of basements full of old bones
into a newness that tradition abhors.
Whichever fork in whichever road
you take you cannot take alone
throw in with white sails of unknown
toss yourself on the bonfire of millstone
but ground must be scratched open
and roof raised over some bargain.
If I could gather up all my children
and theirs and and all that I could fit
into bags and boxes stuffed tight
with favorite books and instruments
I would hold my wife’s hand and buy
a ticket into the night of dissonance.
But the word I kept saying before
is here and here is still the word
here the pasture and here the tether
pour here into a bowl with brown sugar
remove boots here and rest under covers
woven of everyone you were born to love.
When I read about refugees fleeing
or gold diggers sniffing out new veins
when I dream of oceans and beaches
on land’s edges kissed by currents
from Greenland or Peru or through the Canaries
I take off my shoes and here remain.