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Poem: From A Place 

Where are you from?
The white space labeled address demands
desperate for the finite of definition
the limitation of small scrawled numbers
filling, fixating.
I am from some place, some geography,
some street, some demography.
I am from archeology, from the study of antiquity
where layers of soil unfold
like the corners of a paper fortune-teller
revealing scrapers and spear throwers—
held in my muddied hands
as though I crafted, I shaped,
but it is the art of discovery.

Where are you from?
I’m asked—
I am from history, from a “safe harbor”
or is it a “reed-covered lodge”?
From names long forgotten:
colli eminente, San Germano,
San Antonio, Sanatatea.
From 1609 when Hudson found the Hudson,
like a troublesome child wild with play—
a game of hide-and-seek this river lost.

Where are you from?
I’m asked—
meaning, Who are you?
The explorer of the unknown?
The settler of the unfound?
The fixated.


Or like the Hudson,
with the back and forth tumbles of her tide
an arm grasping the sea
and a mouth holding her words deep, secret in her throat,
volatile and shifty—
Nothing settles here.

Speaking of...

  • A poem by Colleen Gibbons-Brown.

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