A Post Thanksgiving Poem




My maternal grandmother’s grandfather

was a butcher—he was Fleischman.


I am a poet

who knows the dreams

of my mother dwell in my sister


My paternal grandfather’s grandfather

was a farmer—he was Meier.


I am a poet

whose song is sung in

graphite and ink


They left Europe

for a similar place of cold and

want. Where gray covers the earth

for months on end, and frozen air

sears the lungs.


I am a poet

whose truth rises on

ice-bound floes


I am the voice of my mother

a rock of disbelief, her

hope a crumbling house, my

birth her bitter denial. My chilled

moment of delusion lasts a year,

or a lifetime.


I am a poet

my sea-weapons

incantations of change


I am like and unlike my grandmother.

She certain of her place and lineage, her

favors and grievances, my grandfather’s

acquiescence validating her at every turn,

every slight, every diminishment. Ice

infusing our lungs, our breath.


I am a poet

who dreams of snow

gracing a Michigan hillside


My mother, her daughter, adoptive

stranger. She who fled the snow

for the warming coast.

An insult my grandma never forgave.


I am a poet

whose voice courses through

the blood of German strangers


I am the scribe, recording the reasons we hold

ourselves to impossible expectations.

Retelling the tales—ghost stories

that reside in our bones.


I am a poet

whose words infuse mitten state

apples hawked from a rusting truck