Birthright

“Birthright” was first published in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing (March 2019). 

 

Back then, back there — as a child in the summer
on month-long sails with my mother
down the coast of Maine, we’d gaze east,
as far as our eyes could see, across the Atlantic.

Hey, Mom! I think I see France! or maybe…Portugal?
Oh my! Pass the binoculars! Let’s see!

She’d let me believe each island from Kittery Point
to Penobscot Bay might be uninhabited, just waiting
for exploration — or the discovery of a new welcoming land.
She let me practice possibilities.

What do you suppose they do for fun there?
I wonder what they’ll have for supper tonight?

So, in my teens, when I finally made it all the way
across the Atlantic to study in France, it was a matter of course
to fit right in with a new world and its inhabitants —
who, after all, had just been waiting for me to come and join them.

Bonjour, Mademoiselle. Comment allez-vous?
Très, très bien, Monsieur. Merci. Et vous?

Unsure where I am most foreign in the eyes of others —
there, back home — or here, in this life abroad without birthright,
I know I belong because of summer mornings
along Portuguese and French shorelines.

I still connect by looking as far west as my eyes can see
towards those Atlantic islands, grateful liquid bridges never burn.

5 thoughts on “Birthright

  1. Liz you could cross a hundred checkpoints and always be welcome with such generous beautiful words.

  2. Liz, Very nice…..I enjoy and appreciate your perspective, present in all your writing. You get that from your father….Jud ________________________________

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