1. What I have to say belongs to two mountain places: Italy & Virginia. Like all mixed marriages, my story's a marl of sand & silence, limestone & longing. Some people don't like to remember how things come together. I can't stop talking about it.

2. My parents married in 1976. My mother, born in Washington, DC, to a Black family with roots in Virginia, grew up in the United Church of Christ. Her home church, in the city's Northwest quadrant, was built in the twentieth century, in an Italian Romanesque Revival style. It has a rose window.

3. Worlds within worlds exist. I live here. In the passage that opens when you pronounce African & American. In the stitch that tethers Italian to the good old stars & stripes. When I was a young poet, I used to think it was my job to explain myself in the etymological...

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