At Least Two Kinds of Belonging

This book smells like someone else’s house,
Has an inscription written to someone else,
Notes scrawled in the pages,
Which are hard to decipher.
But the book is mine now
It’s for me
In a second way.

It was pillowcases at my sleepovers
That first made me feel this–
This other kind
Of belonging,
Not the one I was born with–
One I never noticed
Until I knew of two–
But the learned familiarity of what was other;
The sense that I belonged there,
Though that home did not belong to me.

The pillowcase was foreign,
And there
In that other house,
I was foreign too;
I knew it by the strangeness that surrounded my sense of smell
My sense of me
Yet there I lay on the carpet floor,
Falling off to sleep,
Ready for breakfast with another Mom and Dad.

This book that now belongs to me
May hold more,
May hold me.

May it’s pages remind me
Of more to remember
As mine,
As what belongs in me;

The many more than these two
Kinds of belonging there must be.

You can listen to me read it here.

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