It’s what you name when someone asks
where you’re from.
Like an anchor that holds your life
against the drift of time and space,
your point of origin offers clues
to the jigsaw of your nature.

You see the world through the structure
of that place, feel in your flesh
its range of heat and cold.
The birds that flutter through my town
defined the species.
Its distances assume the measure
for all other places. Its water tastes
the way all water should.

Hometown is the standard
for things desirable, repellant,
food relished or resisted.
You say its name and people guess
your politics, your faith, your favorite team.
No matter how far away you drift
the chain’s just long enough.