Poem of the Week: “Origin Story,” by Karin Gottshall

Join us this Wednesday as we welcome Karin Gottshall for our Fall Writing Series.

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Origin Story

Lake Michigan dreamed me, I think,

in the winter of 1969, its long currents

combing shipwrecks and where


was my mama, then? (She was wearing

a red muumuu.) And where was my father,

then? (He was fishing for steelhead.)


No one dreamed you, stupid girl, the seagull

said — you came straight from the belly
of your granddad’s school mascot


You wore plaid skirts and bruised your knees
and lived across the street from the motorcycle shop

I remember dropping dimes in the jukebox;


I remember embers in the sand. Once I saw God

himself — a small boy running across the RV park

with a toy sword in his hand. I dreamed


we all lay down on the beach and the dunes

moved over our bodies. It took

ten thousand years of whispering,


but we finally slept. And before that?

the seagull asked. Before that I found comfort

in the fur of animals and the movement


of a boat on the water. I was warm

in my mother’s arms. Before that I was

a sonic boom over Wisconsin, and before that, fire.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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