I am an Other,
my differentness worn on my face,
expressed in my every breath,
spoken in the stiffness of my spine.
You welcome me, but you could not
forget that if you tried
and nor can I.
My mother used to wrestle prickly greens
from soil so hard it hurt to dig,
where even the simplest act of creation
came with sweat and struggle,
and there were no silken petals at the end.
That was what I called home.
That’s why I love your milkweed seeds,
the promise of new life in long, graceful pods
on gossamer threads
ready to scatter on the winds in slow motion.
the genome of a milkweed plant
contains within its ribbons
all the milkweed plants that came before–
Like them, I made the choice to float away.
I serve my home by leaving it.
I took to the air
and now I thrive in it
despite the fact that it would kill me
if I let it.
I vibrate with purpose,
pointed toward the distant stars
where duty is spelled out in
endless points of light.
I am a catalog of all my mothers’ wisdoms
and all my fathers’ strengths,
the sum total of generations of civilization,
of evolution from water to mud to trees to
houses and then cities.
The refusal to be erased is written on my bones.
I’m hard enough to thrive no matter where,
even when I plant myself in air.
Even when I take root in the sky
in a moment of wanton evolution.
I am reckless enough, or brave enough,
to be the next stage.
We forget sometimes
that to grow, even the hardest seeds
To put down roots they must soften,
mingle with what surrounds them,
release their strings of tissue full of DNA,
share the sacred code
passed down through millenia.
Your welcome gives me fertile soil
where my Otherness takes root
where my loneliness is eased
by cracking open,
by growing, blooming,
manifesting the hundred generations
as they culminate in me.