-I Am From- 

Half mother, half father
           incubated inside a womb
           previously inhabited by my brother
Short light skin meets tall dark skin
            and births me, a perfect mix
Mountains of North Carolina
            and the flat upper lands of
            the sister state
Survival begot by poverty intertwined
            with education and pride
Mysteries of genealogy betrothed
            lineage of a Southern family
Both traced back not so far to a
            forgotten land whose inhabitants
            were stripped from her clutches
            and deemed property by their
            would-be co-inhabiters of earth
A grandmother whose name decorates
            a corner pew
A grandmother whose name is held in
            memoriam of a health care center
A grandfather whose cuckolded
            history threatens mine
A grandfather whose clout has
            outlasted his life
Me, their hope; for as long as I’m
            alive they are too
Me, who has never quite fit in
Deemed the protector of the family
            name read protector of
            the family secrets
Shame locks them away
            in the cold, ignored recesses of
            a sinner’s mind
Opportunity to continue their legacy or
            forge my own
Neither sound tempting
Nether can be ignored
Thus the daughter of slaves
            takes her place in
            the 21st century
A moment her sons will thank her for

Leslie Jordan