Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Women

An old friend with whom I've reconnected over the past year told me last week that she's finally come to realize that her family are not the people with whom she's joined by blood, but those with whom she's joined by love. Sometimes, for some of us, those lines cross. But it's a strange country, this thing we call family, and its borders are ever shifting. And who lives there? There are men in my family, certainly, many of them greatly beloved, some of whom I would die for, but tonight I am thinking of the women.

of my mother, who loves me despite our differences, who never asked me to hang back to keep her from her own demons, who might not understand but does her best to accept

of the Chica, my sister in every other way that matters, from whom I've learned so much and from whom I can't imagine being separated

of my daughter, who is so like me and yet so unlike, who hasn't yet learned to hold back her desire or fierceness

of my grandmother, who no longer walks with me on the earth but who still whispers to me in my heart

of my aged cousin, who opened the world up before me like a field of flowers and taught me to love each one, even those that have thorns

of the mothers of my mothers, whose faces flash past me out of brown photographs, crumbling letters, lists of names, dusty gravestones, the eyes of my children

of the myriad women who move past and around and through my life, who stay for a moment or years, who teach me and learn from me and laugh with me and mourn with me, whether I've never even seen their faces or could recall their features from memory, the friends, the soulmates, the writers, the poets, the artists, the students, the teachers, the mothers

of the Bitch, and the Wolf, and Lady of the Lake, and the Fire Walker, and Girl in the Woods, of all the threads in the weave

of the earth, of the moon

I am blessed to live within these borders. I am fortunate in my family.