My roots were firmly fastened to the books that I found in the many libraries in this and other towns surrounding my parents’ village. They brought me there (libraries). They fetched them to me (books). They presented me with new soil; the ground in which the writers grew and learned and wrote from. My roots went deep, are deep but mobile. Not fastened to the ground—to any ground, but nurtured by the soil that gave birth to those books I read, the people who wrote them. Good or bad. True or false. Or telling truth more strongly through their stories than through news reports.
And so I live today within five miles, still, of where I was born. Still asked, “You have an accent. Where are you from?” And when I answer, they respond, “Where have you lived, then?” or “That cannot be!” Here I remain, still a stranger to them all. All but a few. The roots that hold the tightest are not of my father’s village, where I was raised…or in this larger city, birthplace of my father.
I’m not born of, no, nor grafted to that stock, but to my parents’ real lives and home: their travels, loyalties, their loves, their dreams…the universe.
“Roots: A prose poem.” Copyright © 2016-01-18, by Lizl Bennefeld. All rights reserved.
Written for Mara Eastern’s Poetry 101 Rehab, now hosted by Andy Townend.