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