• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 01
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Every Family An Island

While no one person is an island,
according to other poets,
my heart has always been afloat on the bit of land called
"My house" – full of family unlike the others all around us.
We ate different food, my mother worked when
others stayed at home,
my father drove out of the city to a job that kept him
late at night. He wore a suit, but worked longer hours
than those whose fathers worked in factories.
We watched tv, but our house was full of books.
My father spoke three languages, but refused
to speak more than one to me.
My mother brought home imported salami that
I fed to the neighbor's dogs.
We ate eggs and peppers on Fridays.
I never had creamed anything until I went to school
and even then it was hard to leave the island.
My classmates though, were kind, they
themselves refugees from islands, unlike mine
in detail, like mine in that each was small and singular
a place to dream of escaping, but known in our hearts
to be a place of refuge – a house, a yard, people who loved us,
an island we called home.