dangling from her branch which was attached
to a great trunk which sunk down into roots
sprung from the seeds of Spain and Africa,
the latter never mentioned but expressed by darker faces in the family clan.
We were on the up and up “good” hair, light skin,
A foreign education for the men,
fine weddings for the guaranteed virgins.
Branch by branch, blossom by blossom, we grew;
our individual trees lost in the woods
of Alvarez and Tavares ancestors.
Until by emigration, seeds were cast
on foreign lands: a maternal great-aunt
married a German and our name was lost
in guttural patronymics, blond cousins
with year-round suntans. My sister and I,
transported stateside in the sixties, turned
into tangle-haired hippies, slinging our English slang
We clipped ourselves off from the family tree,
independent women! Or so we thought,
until our babies started to be born,
sporting Mamita’s dimples, Tío’s brows,
the voice of Tía Mariana, thick and swee
like boiled-down sugarcane; the family tree
transplanted but not totally transformed.
Even I, the childless one, intend to write
New Yorker fiction in the Cheever style,
but all my stories tell where I came from.