F: Where We Belong

The F comes from a family of letters ( F, U, V, W, & Y) with the same Sinaitic root Proto-semiticW-01. From its pictographic history to present, its forms have included the shape Y to something much like a mirror image of our F. The Greeks created of it their digamma ϝ, occurring in Greek so rarely they discarded it.

The McAvoys were mean.
All the neighborhood kids knew it.
You didn’t send the ball over the fence.
The Petersons cat got on their roof once.
Mr. McAvoy surveyed the scene
with a cocked pistol, offered to shoot it
down. “But then there’s Patrick,”
my mother would say, shaking her head.
“How did that happen?” Patrick McAvoy
was the middle son, soft-spoken, quick
to smile, willing to contort his form,
crawl under the truck, get the ball, and
throw it back.

We are not all born into the space
we are meant to occupy.

The lion cubs are rejected by their mother
and so raised by a dog.
The baby elephant, abandoned in a mud pit,
attaches to a sheep after being rescued.
A cat nurses an orphaned squirrel.
A greyhound protects an owl chick.
The hippo and the tortoise are best friends.
The tiger and the piglets.
The monkey and the baby boar.
The dolphin and the pod of sperm whales.

For some of us, it takes longer than others
to find where we belong.

The Greeks tossed away the letter F,
labeled it useless, all their letter needs
already accounted for. But the Romans
took the F in again, gave it
its modern sound. Though it may
have had to change form from where it began–
small price to be able to say – family.

Nov. 7, 2013

One of 30 poems in 30 days