Helsingborg & High Water
My ancestors went blind drinking
from radiators & distilling their furniture.
Their gifts smell of ether
& iron. Their blessings
turn & rust.
My Punnett square is chain-linked. My affliction
is a family heirloom that looked garish
in every room. With left hands & blue eyes,
I have learned of recession.
I have wondered how long it would take
to distill my bedroom sets. I have wondered
how many stones my heart weighs, how
much of me was carbon. I have wondered
of my dog, now blind and in Lismore, and if he
remembers me still.
My bones are Belfast, my lungs are Dresden.
My tongue is Glasgow, my eyes are
Birkenau. Trauma is a lineage that
does not disinherit. Relief
was a coffin ship that never
made it to port.
I have prayed for hands big enough
to float me across the North Sea. I have prayed
for fealty, lucidity, sanctum. I have prayed
for vertebrae like braille that read
The Silver City sleeps tonight,
still across the Atlantic—but mercy,
as it were, has been