War Leaves a Language (Dream Notes)


This poem was originally accepted by Palette Poetry magazine but was withdrawn by the author in protest.

In this madrugada, I don’t know where it ends.
I type into each box a Salvadoran search.
The algorithm answers phenomenologically.
As   in,
my research tells me this American paper trail
will take my life
Skimming the declassified receipts for ruination,
I track the gun-slings southward.
I scavenge the NYT records—what gossip
the war machine’s failure.
You might say that in lieu of my fury,
this poem contains questions.
It wants footnotes I keep searching for in family.
I mean to say,
memory surges like red ribbons. I never ask
my parents, what was it like to punctuate a war?
Be born and escape in such short living.
So that I may speak to colony, every word
I’ve been modeled is   a   carbine   conjugation.
Radiowave, radiowave— my coordinates are insurgent, my allegiance is
confidential, my conspiracy,
empirical   ,
tonight   ,
like   other   nights.   The   darkness   in   the   company   of   the   alive       .
Balsam   throbs   of   bullet ants,   holed   leaves  clinging glint larval  
bright like   bone. Imagine our   wars    over   and  
we dream
with    our    lands   in    every    breath .
el palo de achiote    \    điều nhuộm stains    Vietnam   too   .
And    Atlacatl   potentials considered  for   Iraq   .
When    dry    palm         and    bamboo kindling
how    many    roots    splinter   ?
Echo off
dawn dropwing    dragonflies    .
If   my   family   left    behind    momentos    ,
be   placenta    buried  under  ceiba;   be    a  wooden   coffre  cooing
a     little    conch    shell    caliche    .
Feel    the    silence
of   bats    land    ,             a    gentle    kiss   of   moths
on    bare  chest like   thumbing    banana
leaves       .
the    life                                 
of    fried    –    fish   oil    behind    the    ears    of    a    lover   ;   your lover   ,
the moon   .
I    want    to   remember   a    language
of    only    grasshoppers  ,   geckos ,
grass   .
Flame lilies   .

A note on REFUSAL

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