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From After April Rain, available

for purchase from Longship Press


by Elizabeth Oxley

Some people stare, 

searching for a Judas bone,

but all they can find

are the stems of your arms,

the sleek plunge of femur

into socket.


These are the usual things,

and why shouldn't they be?

You were not a provision

of armistice or treaty.

You were not born to be

nation or diaspora.


The love that made you

was simple as the sounds

at breakfast: clink of pan

on stove, scraping-back of chair.

No slave ever rocked

inside the boat of your hips,

no explorer pried open

an African river.


They say the ancestors

reside in a sacred grove.

Your homeland is wherever

you stand. If the gaze lingers,

it's on your spine, straighter

than the fence lines

at Gettysburg.

For my daughter

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