The news channel says
such and such percentage of people
in Liberia trace their heritage to here,

and my mother scoffs in disbelief because
she thinks the passage from Africa
ran only one way.

I enlighten her gently: for her,
history is a different animal. It is
what happened; it is facts in books;

a continuous line
moving into the future
with no tangents, no digressions.

She thinks I am a diagramed sentence:
even the splinters have splinters.
To her, I’ll probably never be whole again.