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By day. By night. In handcuffs. Through mind-scramble. Brain-

surged. Shock of force, body taut. Alerted. Taken.

Outside. Inside. Anytime. Any place. No words to explain. My

infant mother, 1942. My young son now. The rug,

his twisted body, his world inside. And what it does. Red flare

or white lightning. Fried impulse or smoldering

heat. A searing of gray or glitter of stars veiled by fog. Her

fragments. Yellow orb, the porch light. Shimmer

against her face. The cradle, her mother’s arms. A blanket’s false

cover. Itch of wool, hives on skin. Things

just happen. By bus. By train. In war. Electric storms. A horse

stable. Desert. Sand swirl and mind gust. Thought

sparks. Word cloudings. Mountains spike against white. A guard’s

boot. Trodden syllable. A thorned cage. Wing

pierced. Baby hawk in wire. My barbed string of words. To capture

him. Capture her. If he never speaks? I carry him. If

she cries for her father? Grandmother carries her. Some place. My mother

carries what is unremembered. Begins to know

when I ask. I don’t speak. Of things I can’t know. Of despair about

my son. We never know. Where we are going. Where

love will end us.

from SeizeFind more by Brian Komei Dempster at the library

Copyright © 2020 Brian Komei Dempster
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Brian Komei Dempster Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.