from The Orphan: A BROKEN LINK IN A CHAIN

North Korean propaganda reveals “the orphan to be the national symbol of North Korea, the figure, it seems, most capable of being revolutionary.  After all, just as the orphan is a broken link in a chain, so revolutions seek to create a radical break with history.”
Clare Callahan, Duke U. Human Rights Archive

This pains me to read. My father, my mother, the various people I loved — they have had written into their spirits this un-requitable break. Reft from ancestors, family, homelands, and languages, these orphans have populated my spirit. They have cut and swung out at each other, at themselves, in the way they reached for that space inside them which caved in. I swell with their novel vacuity, their bright, mourning eyes of impenetrable isolation.

There’s nothing romantic about an orphan. They are quiet — yes — because they no longer hunger; they dwell interminably at a loss. They move but everywhere they go remains for them the same. An isolation. A dystrophy.

Where’s the whip that lashes at this throat of history? The torn throat that fails to sing. To break from, to swallow without enunciating. To turn aside in the dust and moan.

I am going to have terrible, consequential dreams.

***

am I prepared

No beginnings as all beginnings. The greatest beginnings. To sow in flames.

How the body bleeds. To staunch a wound — is fire the only salve?

When you burn yourself, the body holds the heat inside for days. Oh that blistersome heat. It scorches, even after the ice packs, cold compresses, the gauzy salves or pursed lips in their loving, cooing administrations. To feel a sun press through you in the middle of the night. To have it murmur against your body while you turn in your sheets, the windows wide open and crickets churning in the grass. Let. Me. Sleep.

to ride a hysterical horse into the sea

He lifted up his shirt. Fat, bubbly blisters like plastic packaging populated and pocked his back. You need to go the hospital immediately. The largest were as big as quarters. I don’t know how it happened. I want to cry at how they softly–so quietly–cling like gossamer barnacles to his skin. My hand coils tight against my side. Suddenly, I can’t breathe.

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