Family Histories

I am a child of many continents,
my father a citizen of Ireland
and my mother of Cuba.
Her family is a long list of
first-generation-to-ever’s
and my father’s family
a long list of
but-we-always-did-it-this-way.
My dad rode trains and my mother rode clothes lines
out by her abuela’s fig tree.
*
Our history stretches back in immigration
for generations, to the Mediterranean, to the Irish Sea.
My mother’s family originally fled Crete, Northern Spain,
and the islands off the West African coast to
a new island of culture and crop,
but, generations later, my mother would
beg her father to convert to Catholicism,
the religion that persecuted her Arab Family History.
*
So it is in my blood to see a palm leaf
and feel lost, like I’ll never be home.
It is in my blood to feel green
to the bone, to feel bright but weighed down.
I drink agua de coco and see through her eyes and
hear church bells and hear through his ears
but I will never know the things my parents hold in their heads.
I have only ever known our collective history through
words and guided hands but
what is it to make a new land of concrete home?

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