Immigrant, Family, City of Water



I am from Iceland

A different Iceland than


From my grandmother’s


Where her father was born

An island with no trees;

he left for a fertile farm


I am from Norway and Sweden,

Where my father’s, father’s mother,

and my mother’s, mother’s father

Were born,

Borne on an immigrant tide,

Forgoing the fjords

For a city of lakes, and streams




Is where I am from.

I love to fly over her

Glittering in the sun


I am from Ireland

From where my mother’s, father’s, father came

The poet in me must have travelled with him

      From Erin to St. Louis, across the prairie

He was married to an orphaned girl

By mail,

And wed us to this place


I am from a city of green parks

And water; sometimes blue

Others gray, water you can walk on

Drive a truck on, several months of the year

Longfellow wrote his epic here


Hiawatha, Nokomis…Minnehaha

The light, and laughing waters, that I love

To sleep on your banks

To bask on your shores



I am from public schools

Public libraries

Forests preserved

For the public good,

Emerald forests

Sapphire lakes,

Silver streams and rivers

Mississippi winding

Among houses and glass towers


I am from public assistance

Welfare, food-stamps

Government cheese

From social services for women

And Infants

And children in need

From church-basement-potluck-suppers

From “hand me down” everything

…shirts, socks and shoes,

From where what had been “used” by others

Was “new” for me.


Progressive…generous Minneapolis

Is where I am from.

Where it is cold in the winter

And warm in the sun

I read this Poem from my Collection, at the June gathering of Poets n’ Pints, June 15th, 2016


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