Stranger to Myself

By Fredrick Zydek

I know a few of the ethnic cultures
that have contributed to my DNA.
I am aware of a bit of history my
grandparents endured. Beyond
that I have no idea who my people
were or what they did. I dream of
ancient Mammoth hunters in what
is now Poland, the Mic Mac tribes
along the coasts of Nova Scotia
who made their living from the sea,
and the English clans who fished,

tended sheep and thatched their roofs
on the west coast of Britain. How
did they learn to make kidney pie?
I long to go all the way back, back
to the first germ to replicate itself,
the first atoms and electrons that
spun reflections of themselves – real
enough to send them off to live on
their own. I’ve lived in this skin
for nearly 70 years and still don’t
know what I am, where I came from,

or what is to become of me. I tell
myself I am a creation of the cosmos,
a conscious being capable of a wide
diversity of emotions and thoughts.
I tell myself I may be another way in
which God explores what it means
to be. I tell myself I may be, just like
dinosaurs and Neanderthals, a passing
fancy, a phase, a single step in what
may be the development of creators
no one here will know or ever name.


Fredrick Zydek is the author of nine collections of poetry. T’Kopechuck: the Buckley Poems was just published by Winthrop Press. Hooked on Fish will be published by Rag and Bone Press early next year. Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, he is now a gentleman farmer when he isn’t writing.  He is the editor for Lone Willow Press. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimmaron Review, The Hollins Critic, New England Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Yankee, and others.  He is the recipient of the Hart Crane Poetry Award, the Sarah Foley O’Loughlen Literary Award and others. Retired, he divides his time between his home in Omaha and a working corn and soybean farm in Brunswick, Nebraska.

One Response to “Stranger to Myself”

  1. lapia says:

    Very nice musings. Many of which I’ve wondered about, too.