Kinship – Chris Wood

Your people will be my people. Ruth 1:16b

I am not native to this land.
The red clay of Cherokee,
the Great Plains where the Crow roamed,
or the bluegrass on the Land Between the Lakes.
My roots are tinged green from four leaf clovers
and the rolling hills of Glencoe.

My husband is rooted to the South,
to American soil. His blood is redder than mine,
body planted in indigenous peoples,
uprooted and mingled with settlers.

I call this place my home.
I have known no other
but I don’t fit in. I am displaced,
cut out of my heritage.
My maiden name changed to hide
my ancestry. The O dropped from Connolly,
even the spelling changed.

I have been grafted in by marriage,
by joining, by acceptance.
I am more attached to the earth now,
rooted in this land, these natives.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood resides in Tennessee with her husband and several fur babies. She works as a lease maintenance manager for a real estate management company, and is a member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild, where she currently serves as their treasurer. Her work has appeared in several journals and publications, including Poetry Quarterly, Haiku Journal, American Diversity Report, and Quill and Parchment.