I Ask Father Where We Are Driving

Arian Katsimbras

& in his clipped tongue he says,

the fever will break down outside

of Missouri, break down outside

of meaning, which is to say that we’ll

break down to avoid the chapped

runt-mouth of words. Somewhere


of this burnt out Buick, I want

to see it all: the way the homes

would wash away under storms

if it were not for the sidewalks

holding them in their hills; how

a small box of animal teeth

has something to say about the way

we love; how brick and bone; how

I ask father what the street sign

means, how he says our name; how

our name is not bird bone, not

hollow; not hallowed like flint

in winter, like fever sweats, like

child, like what’s ripped; how

he spoke was how I buried him; how

the fever is a kind of life; how he

pulled off the license plates before

we crossed the Missouri border; how

the dead enter our mouths; how

we hold their names like nails

in our teeth; & always how we

remember these things: how father

& son, how we die broken, quick.

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