A Mellow American Wine

By George Grace

I could have been born

into a family of American nomads,

spent decades in a Winnebago

on permanent vacation,

never needing to memorize a zip code,

laying so many miles beneath my family's tires

that this road is the same as the last; the next mountain,

just another mountain; that river,

just a turn or tributary of the one we just left behind.

Friends? Anyone who smiles, tells me his first name,

and is willing to play catch with me, if even for an hour.

Love? Any woman who looks my way (not related).

But then how would I tell her

I seek anchorage in the warm seas of your heart,

when tomorrow I will be plugged into an outlet

at some campground two states away?

I could have been born

into a family 15 generations cloistered

within a few acres of our world,

known but never really known

by everyone in the nearest town,

often confused with others of my name,

left to dream on crisp and starry nights

of lives not my own, oceans I'd never cross,

mountains I'd never see.

I could have been born greater, or lesser, than I am,

called home something more or less desirable

than where I sank my roots. And despite my flaws,

after many years seeking comfort

for what I am, where I came from,

made of myself,

I wouldn't trade it for any other life

ever lived.

GEORGE GRACE, a Buffalo-based poet and visual artist, will join five Canadian poets and nine other American poets at the Buffalo Society of Artists First International Poetry Festival at Artpark from noon to 4:30 p.m. today at the BSA Gallery, 450 S. Fourth St. in Lewiston.