What anchors, what milk, what murmur of mine?
Shouldered loyalties, what offered up for entry. Shout
softly from safe rooftops.
Claim skin, claim map, claim mobile.
Bordered edges, green demarcations,
dotted blots on map to mark construction.
Upright of slag cement.
The need to tongue and teeth a map:
Romania Slovakia Hungary Italy
Venezuela United States
Say and repeat. Bare tangled recognition.
Sovereign becomes an olive pit, bitter flesh and oils.
Turn the name over on the tongue. A nation becomes a mouth.
Dust swills up around the jaw-line, the cut-bone barriers.
Mandible to masticate, the chew-drum:
sovereignty, supremacy. A tooth-lined artillery.
my father’s father gave a warning thumbed
a caution that history repeats itself that falling happens
in patterned sequence the body a people
thuds and thuds again
“didn’t want to be those Jews”
I said sometimes the body the cycleis transferred another body
she says “see the Arab scarf” clicks her tongue
regime to claim ownership
this barbed spine of dragon wire we are connected by
to shoot at signs of motion- wind, armadillo, child
two slabstones, moat of liquid heat between
cameras, sensors, robot drones
sound of trucks rolling over sand
imaginings of what lies on the other side
Wall built into the water. Some kind of muddled Moses. The sea will not
split for this.
concrete partition looming,
the captive heart beating a claustrophobe's rattle
it reaches for the sea
I ascribe not to you but to the between-you. Is this the leap from second to
third— a generation toes the line.
scowl of socialism her mouth the inescapable
articles, items, artifacts grandmother her mapping
“See the wool gloves your aunt wears in this one? Those you can only find
in Romania, near the hills, it gets very cold in the winter.”
thick scarf snakes neckline a winter city
wheeled cart to market from third-floor apartment
oranges, dates, bags of flour, sugar
“Your grandfather traveled, selling shoes all over Europe. He always
remembered to bring a treat for the girls”
lollipops from Bucharest, paper butterflies from Berlin
dangled edge of lace
She runs trembling fingers over the photographs to remember
as though teakettles and stockings could be felt through the grains.
She likes department stores best;
watery gleam, overhead fluorescents, sleek counter-tops.
Walks aisles arm-in-arm with her daughter:
“Now this is a good seam, how it rolls down the side of the skirt.”
“These high-tech alarm clocks fall apart too soon.”
Stacked, by color, dozens lining the aisle. Days would measure out in yards
of cloth, bright bolts lining the fabric store. Tailor her daughters, blouses
her daughters, mother a girl at her hip. Arms extended, grazing fingers over
each roll of fabric. Kaleidoscopic modern-day department store: coat
hangers, scented candles, plastic picture frames glinting beside boxed
I dream of envelopes breaking apart into hundreds of paper cranes. Some fall to the
sea, float listless on the surface of the water until they dissolve.
Claim clung, waxed hand, once gripped cannot
unclaw undone unheld.
What your children will never know of mortar.
In the dream there are mismatched scrambling, boxes escaping coming of cardboard cards flickering. Her jeering everywhere and wood, sifting pair. Positioning suitcases the objects made of beating wings. There is fast, and canvas, where time begins woven. First plastic of bags, strewn: feels patterned, rearranges. Scarves search in sealing insistence. Time balls where it zippers. She stacks another index. A pairs and blankets, of shoes. But she against her, all pulling. Does not know it from or around. Hands are only two, to tuck are boxes, the yarn. Books into bags and stacking three, then, a shoe. Then leather a bottle and mess of sweater, one by one. Removing suitcases, the yarn, of yarn, and objects two, she shoes, realizing her hands, silent. There are folds through objects. Away, arrange again. Clipping of buttons, flaps. Shut closes where it zippers.