A Poem!

I don't write poetry often, and I almost never share it. But I've been learning a lot about taking risks and leaning into discomfort this year. I'm trying hard-ish to practice this ideology.

To that end, I recently had a poem published in The Seattle School's literary magazine Lit. It's about roots and belonging. Thanks for reading.

The Swede

I thought the red wooden horse would do it,
the candelabra, the crown
To satiate a deep-seated desire to be fixed 
to a people, a place.

They say you have to know where you’re from
to know where you’re going.
Where do you go to learn where you’re from?

I ferried to Ellis Island,
pressing into the summer crowd pilgrimaging
to a place of perpetual transition, of grief,
the promise of peace, prosperity, freedom
still ringing
hollow and empty in the great hall,
queued with ghosts.

The ghosts and I, we gaze up. 
A farmer, a watchmaker, a cook.
A girl.
We ogle and awe at the same tiled ceiling,
90 years between me and the genesis of belonging.

It is enough to make one feel rooted.
In a day when roots are so quickly yanked and plunged 
back into an arid soil,
clods of dirt in my wake.

What must it have been like to file in, fearful? 
Under that vast dome of collected and arranged 
white tile, burning hope.

I braid my hair, bake my bread. 
All the while, paying homage to 
the man, the farmer, the ghost. 

I am not so good at hope. 
It takes practice, 
said the girl
whose feet ache to meet the earth,
tendrils shooting from the pads of her feet
grasping desperately at anything that feels like grounding, like home.

How good it is—how necessary—
to remember, to know, to practice.
You have to look hard, dear heart, for those records, those roots, 
this terra firma.