Wednesday
Feb082012

Autobiography as Cartography II

Sandy Longhorn




Born to a man who made his living reading maps,
I knew the sign for North, which lines marked
the roads and which the train tracks

months before I learned to spell my name.
We lived by the compass rose, memorized
landmarks and ninety-degree turns,

our land flat and cut into a perfect grid a century
before we walked it.  Heavy weather gathered
in the west, the darkening sky duly noted.

Forty years on, living farther south, a land of hills
and curves, I locate north by slight northeast,
stare hard in that direction.  I am split

between two places to call home, become
a creature of migration, always longing
for what's left behind, always eager to arrive.