Albert N. Katz: Terroir

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash
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

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 

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.


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