Disappearing Act

Photo: © Stephane Cocke. All rights reserved.

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

 

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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.

 

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