Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sense of Place

Passing through a neighborhood in a city you once lived in for years is like turning the pages of a scrapbook. I was a grad student here, I walked the baby here, I met my husband here. We grow older, the neighborhood gentrifies, we all change, but the memories stay the same, fading like photos in your head.

I was young here, once. But then you move on....

Before we all began shuffling ourselves
Like Tarot cards across the globe
Our names and families and places
Held us like pushpins
Into the surface of a place
Living and dying where your people
Had lived and loved and died.
Their bones, the dust you breathe.
Only great love or catastrophe
Could move you behond meters
From where your parents and people were.
Rooted like trees in place.
Catastrophes like poverty or pogroms,
Starvation and War.
Great love, like longing for food
And a better way of life
For your children.
We belonged to the smell of a local ocean.
To the sound of a certain bird.
To the green of a certain meadow
which you knew as well as your name.
Now, we all move about disconnected from our places.
Unknown to our people,
Unstuck to the surface of the place
Not knowins to what or whom we belong.
With bits of places stuck inside of us.

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