future tense (minor tribe: 2012)

like the family
I need documents to stay here
lose them and I lose my place

this is the right place, right?
this is where I’m supposed to be?

Rumi thinks your country
is where you’re headed
not where you are

Tomás says we never arrive

we’re smuggled in the back of a truck
riding anonymous in the dark
thru the middle of a place
that doesn’t want us

wants only pieces of us

we come in pieces

pottery shards
temple fragments
stone bits

imagining blood
in different cities

cities of us

we didn’t die
we hid

what was remembered
wasn’t put down
on rock
on paper

so that it could be smashed
so that it could be burned

I became unrecognizable
dulled easily in the meanwhile
between peaks and valleys

already I’m from a people so small
we might be overlooked
when the end comes

it’s hard prying us open
but there are ways to make us talk

I thought my generation
escaped silence

silence came back for me

severed me from a tongue
that once spoke like a mirror
revealed exits

when I got quiet
I opened a door onto
a maze of space

I drifted
hurting myself
banging into unseen borders

I’m from folks who
used to know their way around
the universe

at the very least
they knew people
who knew people
who knew the way

the only thing I could do
was make a chain

a line of letters
to anchor me
back to my vessel

I’m still adrift
but it’s a new floating
a purpose whispering behind it

avoiding ends
disguised as paths

I got 9 years
and about 6 months
left to explore



Previously published in Vandal.

Image Credits: Pottery Shards by Gary Cycles