I can tell people are waiting for me.
Down the stream of my blood
they are sailing on a cruise of years.
Landlocked in life, they braided soil
spirit rising with the corn
busy, growing life, they had no use
for family trees, except perhaps
at christenings and quilting bees.
Seed of my flesh, from farm and forest they rise again
stretching the storeroom of my skin to bursting
with reminiscence of raspberries and wild roses
along the river.
I understand these husks of memory, tribal cues,
strapped to their berth of earth
my golden ghosts make room for me
exact their due.
Meanwhile they tell me what they think.
Talk about duty and honesty, a kinsman’s crown
embroider hard work in a fire of fields
sun in the palm of the hand
brass coin that multiplied the crops
and polished itself on the land
when they were lucky, in good years
and now I know
the family gold is buried
near tassels twitching like whiskers
of remote grandfathers.
Always they are stirring up
old droughts and drafts and dust
I test their pulse in mine with longing
on these city streets
I hoard the last grain
by their hands. I am the way
in or out of