Sunday, March 3, 2024

Not a Few Crimes Led to You

Which of your ancestors do you choose?
Careful now. You’re telling the story
Of you. Watch writers open closets

On family past. The lurid tie
To the recently dead patriarch?
Beloved mother’s favorite dress?

Further back, people get blurrier,
Skeletalize, turn into fossils,
More of them to choose from, less to know.

The bottomless back of the closet
Is less portal than a projection.
Strain to picture the ghosts that please you.

How do you want to define yourself?
Maybe don’t dwell on their binaries.
Maybe don’t dwell on their moral worlds

Or on how you would count some of them
Among your enemies, some your saints,
And most, sadly, petty and boring.

You can pretend ancestors made you,
But you’ll probably want to make sure
You know how you’d like to remake them.

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