Places do have faces
and every face has its default expression
and the bodies that move in coils
gesture with arms, shift on legs
and ripple torsos in three dimensions
father, son and holy ghostess
she is everywhere
where we have ancestors.

Her grave is in the family crypt
by the creek with the family name
that flows to the Rappahannock.
She is buried in that rolling cemetery
beside Lake Canandaigua where the Seneca
walked out of a waterfall into creation.
She is buried in the family burial ground
next to the Episcopal Church they used
as a hospital after the battle of Manassas.

She is the still river at the heart
of the whole peninsula where life
is always happening for the first time
and just to live in such a place is enough to feel
the presence of that first generation
in the twisting roots that grow from
the rock to cover the sky with their leaves.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on.  His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.