I Belong

by Eleanor Goldfield

I belong to many places many times

repeated in ticket stubs and flight plans

echoed in the feel of rain bending curls

the smell of a place that is both deeply home

and not

I belong to the child

in her many stages

I belong to the stage

and its many lights

I belong to the shadows

the abysses I dive

so I can surface


fly, and rewind

pushing forward I am me now

I am her tomorrow

or so I'd like to be

I am cigarettes at sunrise

and a crying baby at midnight

I am tears of joy that flow into despair

at bookended days

I have yet to play

I am the steady role

in a theater of revolving doors

where familiar faces

go out in the night

and strange ones come in through the floors

I am the orchestra pit

tapping out rhythms

waiting for dinner

scribbling manifestos

that end up being no shows

I am the treble and bass clef

harmonizing and dissonant

I am the solo and choir

I am the streets empty and thronged with crowds

shouting demands

that feel like prayers

I belong to the landlocked

and the sea

I belong to the forests that still stand

perhaps even more

to those razed

where my knees buckle with grief

and I can no longer stand

I belong to these streets that know my name, and I theirs

from the east to the west

we know each other's cracks

the vulnerable bits where trash and dandelions home

I belong to the park bench that held my secrets

and yours

I belong to skyscrapers and the underground

the spires of empire's hubris

and the deep humble pulse

of mycelial rulers of worlds

I belong of course to the water, to the air and the land

the quiet bringers of life

that know what we'll never understand

I belong to the past more ancient than me

the past that brought me here

and can no longer speak

the past that is buried


the colonialist death march

that swept up like leaves

the remaining branches

of family trees

I belong to times that fought and made love

to peoples that I whisper to

and to peoples I have tried,


to rip from my whole

but all these pieces remain

conflicting, incoherent

contradictions of the me that is, was, and will be.

Either like this

or in dirt, memories and dreams

I belong to many places and many times

I be long-winded at times

but my slot is short

and the curtain must fall,

so here's an offering of what I think of it all

in this second,

this placeholder for infinity

that all of it's mine

because none of it is

and I belong to it all

because I am not long

for it all...