In fourth grade we learned
that Leif Ericson was indeed the son of Erik.
And if, as I supposed,
the Taylors made clothing
and the Bakers bread,
and the Smiths shaped their gold and iron
over anvils throbbing
with heat and constant striking,
then what could my ancestors have done
but sell men?
Did my grandfather's grandfather's
grandfather man the trading block? Did he
tighten the chains, slapping
rusty metal against shining skin?
I pictured someone like my father,
equal in temperament but smaller in stature,
standing with crossed arms and pipe in hand
under a sign that reads
Purveyors of Fine Flesh
Traders in Human Stock