Family History


Only the beginning is true.


There was an island

and an orphanage

and a boy.


There was a train and a country

to cross.


There was just a boy.

They took his words from him.


There was just a boy

and they took from him his words

so he could not speak with others

so he could not know there were others

so he was just a boy





We know there was a boy




Can I say these things if I am not that boy?


I don't know that boy


—that is—



I never spoke to that boy?


We must take our ears


Bibliographical info
Abigail Chabitnoy, “Family History” from How to Dress a Fish. Copyright © 2018 by Abigail Chabitnoy. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan University Press, 2018)
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