By Mari Pack
There are many roads home,
says your only son
in an East Village dive bar.
I remind him that I turn thirty in four years,
but he shrugs, indifferent;
In Japanese, the word is kazoku:
family – brothers,
and I felt him like a phantom limb
when we met.
I told him, “you’re as dense as your father,”
before I knew anything about your husband.
I wasn’t wrong though; they share
the same steady kindness
and a simple sort of grace.
Yet it is you who holds me, sobbing
in a New York hospital
with gentle, pitiless defiance
and where I remember, as if through water
the soft-ish sound a breath makes
when it walks through a door.
Mari Pack is a poet, short story writer, and recovering academic from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2013, and promptly abandoned the ivory tower to work for a social justice nonprofit in Israel. She loves deserts, tundras, and all other forms of wasteland. Her work has been published in Quail Bell Magazine, Greenpointers, Thought Catalogue, and Art Refurbish, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, and desperately wants a whippet.