which is to say

reflecting on the travels my loved ones experience
that are somewhat diluted in their retelling.

which is to say


this, the shape of a fist
a temporary stasis, we will expand
          the universe deepens,
          man colonizes frontiers
          families dig motes between them
there is beauty in it, beside the chaos,
a quiet loveliness in moving out and over
the spreading, its own kind of journey
the distance, a pattern of language

which is to say,

we’ve gone from here knowing
left doorways ajar with the best intentions
of returning, but we’ve never come home
that part of us so vital, rearranged to fit new perspectives
cannot sleep in our childhood beds
or eat quietly
amongst our elders.

which is to say,

I’ve missed you,
collected trinkets for your giving
met strangers and we laughed under greek constellations
but none of it was ours
not even when
you shared it with me.

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Poem 55 Revised

Family Portrait

 

Two score before my parents wed my father held the branches of three trees:

Peach, Apricot, Loquat; their sapping cylinders fresh leaking of life,

With his knife bore them holes together, and bound them with leftover string.

They grew entangled like the knots of unkept ambition, their fruition

Was never compromised by their scars. Here we are

Slack by our tendons, held together barely by bark

But you and I know the best part about broken branches.

They must grow back.

—ECW

 

Poem 55 EditedPoem 55 Original

Poem 23 Revised

When it meant something to have an ivy covered house, home

Was the yellow corners of my father’s family album

Worn down with recounting the birth of the youngest, at one a.m.

The death of their smallest, twelve minutes alive,

It was a memoir I hoped to write down in departure

traveling away from here, traveling anywhere

 

When it meant something to have an ancient surname, my house

held the left hand of my mother, the guiding light held tight

Through rooms I knew from her stories, in houses that belonged

to other people now; would see as we were passing through.

Here is where the chair sat that belonged to your grandmother

My mother was forever with her hand in mine, unwinding our family-lore.

 

I filed the grooves in my house key down to the gloss,

Lost the scent of my window boxes and potted flowers.

In the towers casting hand shadows in a window haze

In the crooked cobblestone margins where it meant something

To have an ivy covered house home

Is a moving target.

—ECW

Poem 23 Edited – Poem 23 Original