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

    Liked by 1 person

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