Somewhere nearby a frog
begs a snake.
—Yusef Komunyakaa, “Monsoon Season”
A fog had draped her hair
around the Chase Tower in Dallas
the morning you returned.
Was it twenty years or more
since we last spoke?
Our orange tree had died
then came anew the night that Bowie
dropped Blackstar behind.
Remember how your stillbirth felt
a rhythm in its passing.
Somewhere nearby a boy
prays a flood.
Somewhere nearby a thigh
parts a knife.
I had flinched.
In the bedroom you protected
me from racial epithets like _____,
___________ and _________.
Broke our vows,
made moonlight out of panting,
licked our roses in the jungle
you had called me yours.
stags in hunting
stop to look.
A LIST OF PREDICTIONS FOR THE NEW ECONOMY
They are dumping animal blood into the sea
to bring up the sharks.
—Adrienne Rich, “Waking in the Dark”
Harbinger of blue jays
bathing at the crack of spring,
windows open to a world unknown—
man smoking his cigarette below
the revolution failed us.
Help. The capital
is shutting down for good—
Hub of human nature.
Hub of ordinance
stopping all communication—
nobody gets in, and nobody leaves.
The post office in ruins
carries cadence through our letters,
most likely unanswered,
most likely used as kindling.
Hostile acts of silence,
city after city after city—
our only message out of
Here. To utter like the willows
among lifeboats, among thieves,
Heavy bursts of flight,
Heavy jewels crown Orion’s belt
Hanging in a northern sky
that we may never reach
is prelude at the helm
or something weaker than ourselves.
In Houston I cup lilies in the water,
dip my toes entwined with plastic ties,
forget about the blue jays bathing every spring.
In New York pit bulls bare their teeth.
I comb my dreams in search of tangerines,
but find, instead, pale faces stop and frisk
the passengers beside me on their way to work.
Who can cry out.
Who can deny.
Who keeps dumping blood into the sea.
Across the North Pacific, women gather
on the edge of coasts; these would-be pelicans
are dropping from their sea cliffs in the thousands.
In New Orleans willows cease to chant.
After Katrina, Senate, Nation, Trump,
I witness the night. Witness the waking
THE WAITING ROOM
this was supposed to hurt. I mean,
remember what we carried over
from war into these bones, silver stones
or swallows who swoop for cover, here,
this flesh, a waiting room for sonnets
open-winged. Metal loses luster
when it sings. The table, just a bulb
upon a body, is just the light
within its eardrum fading, rather,
legs that hold the woman up tonight,
a flicker, no, the motor speeding
through it like a carpenter who sands
the forest down until we both see
its blackened gums, the saplings who claim
space among a mountain’s scale. Some call
this mother nature as they stumble
up her spine but never reach asylum.
Will you wait for me there, too, my love?
I’m tired and may never make the climb.
My knees are conifers. They murmur,
only witnessing the other fall:
Some call this machine buffalo,
poke her belly with a stick, wonder,
quietly, if this beast was pregnant
when they shot her down this morning, or,
maybe she was lost already, so
maybe she was blinded, and no one
chose to stun her, rather, make a point.
Instead, they build a room around her,
rest their guns outside it. When she wakes,
two hundred women will be staring
at a swallow on the gurney, and she
will shield her eyes, ashamed of this bird
passing through her thighs, a bullet lodged
inside its throat.
Sophia Terazawa is the author of I AM NOT A WAR (Essay Press, 2016).