they listen carefully for any trace of accent, any hint of origin seek comfort in knowing from which plot of land I sprouted and the depth of my roots want to know the name of my father and grandfather whether I was true-blood born and bred well then compañeros what if I were to tell you that my name is Angus MacGregor, son of Angus MacGregor the latest of a line of Angus MacGregors eight generations in this bleak land driven from their homes by wicked people to this barren, rocky place from a similarly desolate place And that first MacGregor arrived on a wooden ship, filthy and hungry stepped onto land in this New World married a heathen, a Mi’kmaq women with strange customs named his eldest son Angus and spoke to him in Gaelic to keep the memories of the highland alive and as the good book preaches his children went forth and prospered, cleared the land of trees and rocks planted root vegetables, fished the river, built a mill blithely unbothered by the scouring from their land of the peoples who were living there long before them So compañeros if this tale of the MacGregors is not really the tale of my namesakes, nor an accurate account of my family’s journey it is a truthful one nonetheless because it does not matter if my name is Levy, or Chen; Al-Azury or Bello my story is much like yours and yours, and theirs take comfort then in knowing that we are brethren you and I that my descent is like your descent both predators and prey victims and victimizers we are bound together as mongrels and usurpers related by deeds more murky than blood
Albert N. Katz (he/him; pronounced as “cats”) is a 74-year old retired Canadian cognitive scientist. His poems have appeared in a diverse range of literary journals, including Ascent, Dissident Voice, Pangolin Review, Rattle, and the /tEmz/ Review. His story “Hocus-Pocus” won the 2020 flash fiction contest from Kansas City Voices. He lives with his wife and two rescue cats in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada; his three children are sprinkled across the wideness of Canada.