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Family Tree

By StrawberryPye All Rights Reserved ©


Chapter 1

I guess this is how conversations go

One friend plays a video on her phone
About the topic at hand
But the ad is for some website
That will supposedly show you 
your entire family tree
The actor is smiling 
at the thought of being related to 
Orville and Wilbur Wright  
That's the match 
that sets my friends faces ablaze
with joy and excitement
The Wright Brothers are a big deal
in a state with little claims to fame
and in a school where the principal 
uses swear words at pep rallies
because our rival's principal
said the word "darn" once
and we have to show 
that our pride is stronger 
than the pride of 
"That place up north"
Funny how pride affects one's talk
"Pocahontas was one of my great-great-grandmothers"
one of them says
like we all haven't told a similar lie
Another girl says something
about being related to the founder
of a chip company with pride
The same chip company 
that I know she's written 
at least one three page rant
of a letter to,
because of the quote
"ridiculous air to chip ratio"
Another girl says 
"Van Gough is a distant cousin"
In her family
Having a cousin who 
took his life
is the shameful family secret
unless of course 
he knew how to paint
and was famous for it
I've never done the research 
but I'm probably not related 
to anyone worth noting
So it's quite fair 
to come to the conclusion
that this is all a bit of jealousy
but hear me out 
A long time ago
my mother
whose family has
gotten arrested
and probably a lot of other things
that's she's decided 
I'm too young to know
said to me
That I am not
 that other woman my father married
the uncle who got arrested
The great grandfather who fought for the confederacy
or The aunt who supports conversion therapy
But just because
My other aunt has a PhD
My cousin saved a cat one time
My father's a published poet
and my grandmother knows how to bake cookies
does not mean that I am smart
it doesn't mean I'm a saint
it doesn't mean this poem is good
it doesn't mean that you won't
chip a tooth on burnt raisin nut cookies
if you come to my house
Are hands belong to us
and we think our own thoughts
sometimes going our own route is easy 
sometimes simply learning to think
something other than the lies
told to you by your family's cult
is a hundred 
on a scale on which 
a diamond is a ten
but once you do 
there is a whole world 
before your eyes
and your head will be free 
from it's cursed state 
of shaking while you scream
And you can decide for yourself
what is truth and what are lies
So don't tell me about 
grandaddy Louis and his friend Clarke
Tell me about your adventure
through your unknown  
or your interest in hiking 
and Earth's wildlife
How did the story you're telling me now
impact a part of your life
other than your need for pride?
Don't use your grandmother's old way 
of doing things as an excuse
for your behavior now
when you know it's wrong
Use it as a learning experience
so you can make your future 
-our future as beings on this earth-
more wholesome
You may be filled with guilt
over the deaths of the many 
your grandfather killed
but the blood is not on your hands
and you can do good
not as a way to repay the world
but rather because
You, yourself, are a good human being
Because you, them, him, she, and me
are more than the leaves of our family tree

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