— for Pinckney Eve
I would never have known we were related had you
not told me. The conclusion, at which you arrived
the moment we met, must have come from some
deep well of wisdom that is only just beginning to
emerge in me.
“We must be related!” you said, putting out a hand
and grasping one of mine in it. Must be. Your bright
smile told me the truth of it.
Your name tag read “Pinckney Eve,” which
delineated our kinship. Cousins many times removed,
like all people are, a shirttail relation you’d never met
before, making me feel welcome, like family.
(I wrote this poem in 1999 after attending a conference in Winston-Salem North Carolina, where I met Mr. Eve. Since he treated me as a family member would, I made a connection between his family name and the Biblical story of Adam and Eve which made us family. The poem was first published in a my collection “Seeing: Collected Poetry 1973-1999” which was published by Tortoise & Hare Publications (Seattle) in 2000)