My Mother at One

Brian Komei Dempster

I am the baby


from every war

          story. The wish

empty in Father’s

          hands. Our cord torn

by razor

          wire, skies of violet

plasma. I sense


in mosquitoes, the itch

          beneath skin. Fall asleep

to the rake

          of Topaz

wind, desert willows

          bending over

the stone tablet

          of earth. Nighttime

my body curled —

          slashed by

the quarter

          moon. Waves of heat

and waiting. My lips

          on a bottle’s nib,

sand in

          the face, Mother

stooped over

          stairs, always

rocking me.


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