Where I’m From
BY JANUARY G. O’NEIL
I am from north of Boston
standing at the lip of the Atlantic
on land belonging to the Naumkeag
whose name means “fishing place.”
I am from Misery Islands,
–great and little–born out of
earth’s dark dream song, the low tide
creasing the cracked coastline.
I am from Poet’s Hill,
Prides Crossing, Fish Flake Hill,
Gloucester Crossing, Goat Hill,
Montserrat, Rial Side, The Cove.
I commute with the gulls and plover
that inhabit lands once home
to tanneries, mills, merchants,
seamstresses, domestics, and the enslaved.
I am from a history we’ve built together.
I am its industry. There is no more perfect union
than the archive of birches and maples
that preserve our distractions and our rhapsody.
Perhaps I belong to this place more than
it belongs to me. The left coast
on my side. Tumble of sea glass.
Waves of red algae under the song
of sky. In between the grit
there is more grit, the tough
leather of a place rediscovering itself.
I am what the water whispers.