Diaspora 65

Rhododendron blooms at the window,
lapping at the glass. Obscene tongues.

Their smattering of kisses in the wind,
a seasonal ache. Their leaf bobs—

the way they clasp and unclasp flowers
to mark memory and time. Rosettes,

fused mouths puckered into refusal.
Saying nothing. Breathing nothing

but their acidic earth. The loam of a place
unhospitable beneath the white pine

whose killing needles glint in shards
of dire necessity. And where flowers

bud and break, where the hummingbirds
careen, I am weary of this sharp order.

Diaspora 64

Arrow straight, a procession of men.
The line hammered into a fuse

winding from one end of the building
to the other. Gilt into a lyrical fountain,

the men—gods in another country, made
small talk. Where, after all, was there

to be? And my father among them fussed
with his tie. And the dust had its own voice

which made the wait all the more beautiful
and sepia. And there were soldiers with rifles

crossing their chests because they were
the real gods here and because blood is

Diaspora 63

We wanted to construct a livable world
but the pieces didn’t fit. We wanted

the barely there and the no threat to my family.
Wanted the unaggrieved clothes of someone

who belonged. We wanted to fit under
the sweet tent by the sea. Wanted the open

screen door. There were flotillas of us, yes.
And each of us was a new acrobat

for the circus. We were jangly and beautiful,
yes. We knew the mountains had the good

questions. We knew the midway games
were rigged. We knew carnival barkers