I’ve traced my ancestry, my family,
through courthouses and cemeteries
and no more than one-sixty-fourth
owned other men and only in the jaded
view of the law— my shameful heritage,
like many of my southern neighbors.
How could my slave holding grandfather
truly feel like he owned another man?
How could my family possess another family?
If we trace our grandmothers’ grandmothers’
back far enough, we’ll find we’re all cousins,
distant maybe, but cousins none the less— blood.
Don’t fault them for their lack of imagination,
pity them instead. You and I know our differences
are literally skin-deep. We’re all family.
(From this week’s Living Poetry Prompt: Kinfolk and current events. The photo is from my family archives.)