I can’t believe what the moon wrote
For the valley’s dying to find


About the musky scent of lilacs this
Late in the year, darkening

Further the songs of the trees—
Where does she get off upstaging me?


The first angel banished from Heaven  

For hocking his mother’s wedding band
       for booze—

Wasn’t it you who first said, Sorrow
Cares nothing for how long one weeps—  

Or was it Schumann—
You or Haydn’s oboes who first moaned,


Enter it through any gate you choose
And stay there, until the strings come in? 


Copyright © 2023 by Tommy Archuleta. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Ancestry’ is from a longer sequence of poems titled ‘Bone Harvest,’ a full-length work intent on unearthing relics long buried in the mind, spirit, and body, such as sorrow, regret, embarrassing missteps galore, suffering (self-caused, mostly), and, most certainly, all manner of traumas. ‘Ancestry’ is out to dance with both suffering and sorrow, knit them winter sweaters, feed them boxed chocolates flown in from France. ‘Ancestry’ can’t help but brag about her inherited addiction to classical music, which she uses to cloak and distract from the fact that she herself comes from a long line of conquerors masquerading as armored do-gooders. Sometimes, she is a genus of orchid dangerously nearing extinction.”
—Tommy Archuleta