what’s your name?
inquired the irishman
amid the ruins of glendalough.
o’neill, daddy answered him.
and is this your daughter?
asked the man. yes, daddy said;
she looks irish, he replied.
sure, and someone’s been
kissin’ the blarney stone,

i wanted to sass back —
though i didn’t think of it
’til months later.
someone from the old countries
once told my father he looked
like a scot; i wear
my father’s face
and the face of his father
before him, wherever
it came from. to be
an american is to be
from everywhere.
thus i was raised in graveyards,
and daddy spends his
free time hunting down
the past, finding family
we didn’t know we had
(some of them right
under our noses), making
connections that will eventually
stretch back to adam.
sometimes i want to wonder
what all this is for, when i
am so obviously the end of the line.
but even then, how will i know
where i am going if i don’t
know from where we’ve been?