We lay motionless
tricking the walls of our own home.
I had to touch to believe
my father was shaking.
Darkness made fools of limbs.
Moonlight divided our bodies
into the blue patches
we could not keep.
The river sliced our legs at the waist.
We moved, drifting like wood
broken from an oar. Water
could keep our secret.
A croc surged from the shade of shadows.
My mother’s hand clasped my mouth
the sour of her sweat would infuse
these dreams for years.
At that moment we began to recall
the cells we shared with nature
asking vines to take us as bark
and shield our human in its arms.
We took our breath
and tucked it under organs
thankful that unlike people, reptiles
do not eat when full.
Buried in the boat’s bowels,
we huddled with the rest.
A river of piss and vomit
streamed across the deck—washing away
the fallen tears.
As the beach dims with distance
we hurled our hearts in the ocean
and watched the salt sizzle
in their wounds.
At night, we would wake
and place a hand on the closest chest
absorbing the comfort of a subtle beat, then drift
back into dreams of chrysanthemums
blooming by the rivers.
Slipping into fog’s sleeve
we reached the new land.
Our genes we buried in dirt
no different from the soil
soaked with our mother’s blood.
Desolate from ourselves
we dissipated, crawled
into crevices, alleys, sewers
where the shadows of houses
accepted our shame.
we had nothing left to offer
but the heat