Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22


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  2. Remembering Theda Shapiro at the Coupeville Historical Museum

    Enormous
    Canoe in the local museum.
    This family canoe
    Belonged to the man
    Buried at the top of the hill.
    Chief Snakelum.
    The last of his name I think
    But I’m not sure.
    There’s a street named after him.
    Where is that family now?
    On Swinomish tribal lands
    Across the bridge?
    Separated yet still near?
    I think I felt alone here til I found
    Out about the lower Skagit people.
    Now I walk around
    My neighborhood with the
    Beloved ancestors
    Not of blood but of choice
    Of obligation
    Of possible connection—
    My friend the Jewish historian
    Adopted me once
    And gave me berries to eat
    She showed me cities I had
    Never imagined. She spoke all
    The languages
    She is gone now, and she never saw this place but
    I imagine her looking at the canoe
    And saying artifacts are important
    Because they help us remember and
    Love that remembrance even if
    Persons we did not know made these things;
    Somehow who they were comes through
    In their wooden fabrications — a boat
    To sail the stories in. It’s how we remember
    Best.

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