Wednesday, December 14, 2011


on a paper in a grey box in the stairwell closet of the first floor
these things are listed:
a name you can't pronounce (its yours)
the color of your hair, eyes (black, brown)
the day you were born (or just a guess)
your siblings' ages
a promise that you were given
not taken.

given, not taken.
hold this close on the nights where your knees tremble against the corner you were stood in.

remember this, kneeling on the cold linoleum. a hunting rifle, the heavy in your head
pulling you towards the floor.


your mother was a shaman, mu dang.
it climbs in your skin like the pain through her bones, from the spirit she let in for so long.
when she was a girl, waist wide, and hair braided to one side, her parents marched a tall brown man up a hill towards her.

theirs was a mountain covered with green, ocean on all sides.
this is where you were threaded. the eyes caught and
they pulled each other towards the main land, cold pacific air on the cheekbones.

your father had fought in a war, he traveled like you do.
without purpose but working. without money but smiling
as if the joints that moved his arms were greased with air.

thinned, he was a clatter of empty green glass by the door.
they lost their first daughter then filled her in with girl, boy, girl.
when you came along, you were a girl, but everything about you screamed second son.
he held you on his back once, and you sunk your first teeth into his skin
to say hello.

when you were a loud voice in a tiny room, he was gone.
the hospital, and then the ground
claimed like everything in this place by a man with a simple cure
temporary, like the steaming broth of your sister's cat
your mother once made to dull her pain.