The day god went missing again,
we made cake from cornmeal and sea salt,
yellow grit sticking to our palms
like a psalm felt instead of read.
I can’t overhear another statistic
about the prison system
because all I see is my father in his cell,
khaki drab and tunnel vision.
I wanted him here in our home state,
a dark North Star
guiding me home in the black web of trains
I ride underground in a city he can’t stand.
It’s too loud, too cold, too full of people
who don’t pay attention,
refused him the fame he sought.
Once he asked why I left San Francisco—
clear ocean, 90-degree hills, better burritos;
I couldn’t tell him there were nephews,
how I missed
the jangle of my mother’s bracelets,
the feeling I get now when the plane lands
and I am back in New York,
where they don’t see me
if I don’t want to be seen,
because home is an abstraction,
like sheet music without a sheet,
and my calculator doesn’t do long division
but I know it’s been years
since we plucked guitar strings
at his house with its wind chimes,
its sliding back door, all his breakable things.
by Jiordan Castle
Jiordan Castle is an MFA candidate in poetry at Hunter College in New York City, where she lives with a pug named Hacksaw. Her work has appeared in Bitterzoet Magazine, Palaver, Verdad, Potluck Mag, Brain Mill Press, Tell Us a Story, and elsewhere online and in print. She is a regular contributor to the LA-based quarterly food and culture print magazine Compound Butter. You can find her at jiordancastle.com.