The fish and chips on the table are an idea imported from England. The English had to wait for potatoes to emigrate from Peru, put down roots, acclimatize, settle in, assimilate. Tikka masala arrived later, a bank shot emigré from India, via England. But it had to wait for chilis to cross from New World to Old to East. The Colombian Exchange upset every cuisine’s apple cart. Apples are a Central Asian native. Did my paternal line, that turned east, somewhere in the Middle East, where my maternal line turned west, later bring apples to Europe? Or follow them? We’re both as American as apple pie, an ambiguous metaphor. Even our continent came here from somewhere else. The gold in my wedding ring was formed in neutron star collisions, in another star cluster, several star lifetimes ago, We’re all immigrants, not from around here, before there was a here. Ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.
“Immigrants” first appeared in the May issue of Red River Review.