Lines of Descendance

The Israeli poet is American born. Israel, she says is ancient. Everything is old there, the buildings, the streets, the temples, monuments, cemeteries, hills, the sea — old, old, old. She feels the age of it like a line of descendance. It passes through her now. She is connected to the past and the future through that line. She has a role in the passage of history. A certain future will exist because of her, like those behind her, she is creating worlds.

She lives in the Settlements, so she is also connected to the destruction of worlds. Certain futures will not exist because she is there. She has made a choice to be there, to be part of the making and unmaking of worlds.

For now, she is on the winning side of the wall. Perhaps that is all the justification she requires of herself to remain there.

I look around the world I inhabit. A world I did not choose, but my forebears did and they chose to be the makers and unmakers of their times. They had no regard for the people whose worlds they were unmaking, people who died easily by the touch of breath or skin. People whose weapons were more suited to hunting than war. Ancient history is harder to read here. But it does exist as sandals in a cave, arrowheads, and 15,000 year old stone tools, Though few of us know how to do so, history can also be read in the Willamette Valley which has been cultivated and manipulated for thousands of years. Geologists decipher the pyrocultural record In the strata of soil.

I remain here. Where would I go, a refugee from the sins of my fathers? A DNA test might tell me what European family I have inherited the most genetic material from, but it won’t tell me if I have a place in that family. After all, my ancestors were exiles, either self-imposed or forced. Who welcomes home the exile? Who would make a place for me at their table?