2003 Urumqi China
Series of two
watercolor on d'arches rag 22 x 30
COAL CREEK COLLIDER
Half of my body
From my father,
Half of my cells,
Half of my DNA
Therefore half of my atoms,
Came from Coal Creek,
Coal Creek, Tennessee.
I had to go back there,
Into the mountains,
Where he had been born,
And gaze at the creek
Running down from the mountains,
down from the mines,
Where my grandfather
And great grandfather
Gazing at the white houses along the creek
I wondered which had been our family’s.
I am a daughter of Coal Creek,
But they will not recognize me.
So different now,
I have lived in Africa and China,
And I am half of my New York mother….
But Coal Creek calls to me.
I brought a tooth,
Pulled from my head, only weeks before.
It was all I had to offer in return.
My DNA and the atoms buried within,
The white tooth broken into pieces.
Standing on the bridge, I threw it into the creek.
Just a cloud covered sky,
On a hot Tennessee morning.
You could not see the collision.
But it happened,
My atoms of the present
Smashed and mixed,
With my father’s atoms from the past.
There was no greater way
I could honor Coal Creek,
Than to give back some atomic particles,