Passing It On (or Genesis 5 revisited)
My mother received hers
from my grandmother, who received hers
from Mama Eyrole, who received hers
from the Count’s illegitimate daughter, who received hers
from the pretty laundress, who received hers
from the 12-year-old wife of a wheelwright, who received hers
from one unbroken relay of mitochondrial DNA
with a starting block 5,000 generations back
to a line of fleet-footed daughters
rooting seven branches of Europe on African savannah –
Jasmine, Tara, Ursula, Helena,
Katrine, Velda and Xenia – who received theirs
from the first great untoppled matriarch.
My hand still holds their traces
in faint outline –
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