Genealogy Dream


 

Genealogy Dream

To recall but not recall: family, the swift curve
of evolution’s arc. One moment your knuckles
scrape the earth’s surface, and the next you’re
pinpointing mortar fire by satellite phone. Or,
having plowed the field by hand, you fertilize
with human dung (no swords in this hovel),
only to wake into a dream of high rises and
coffee served steaming by a blushing ingenue
who morphs into an uncle, killed in China
on the wrong side of the war, leaving his
sister still mired in grief six decades later
under the Texas sun. On this end of memory’s
ocean, we know poverty and its engendered
disrespect, neighbors’ children warned not
to play with you, for fear that the family’s
lack of nickels would rub off and contaminate,
that your belly’s empty shadow might spread
down the unpaved streets and envelop even
those who don’t need to share a single egg
for dinner. Years later the son will celebrate
his tenth year by suffering the indignity of
a bloody nose and a visit to the principal’s
office, a gift of the sixth grader who would
never again employ “Nip” to disparage
someone, at least not without looking over
his shoulder in fear of small fists and quiet
rage. Which half measures harder? In one
hand, steel. In the other, water. I pour green
tea on rice and recall days I’ve never lived.

 

“Genealogy Dream” was first published in August 2018  in Issue 4 of Lost River literary magazine. Many thanks to editor Leigh Cheak for taking this piece.

 

29 thoughts on “Genealogy Dream

  1. Dreams and memory mingle to create fascinating scenes … at time difficult to know which category the scene belongs to … “a blushing ingenue … morphs into an uncle, killed in China” … good example.
    Curious about the image – your parents? The image is beautiful. Dream worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Plus, I am always intrigued by the dark glamour of your mother’s face. How heavy her constant negotiations with the world must have weighed on her soul: her Japanese-ness being considered wicked, her American-ness denied, her beauty called ugliness, her children hated by many for just being (little bright misceginations running around in short pants).

        Though this is just the imagining of a fan of your work, it really feels sometimes like whatever trauma(s) your mother bravely waded through, some of it got encoded into her DNA which was passed along to you, trauma which is in a sense cleansed, excised, or released (?) via your poetry, the lost prophet who brings The Healing Word…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say your powerful words are a myriad of dreams Robert, there are so many vivid images…..
    “only to wake into a dream of high rises and
    coffee served steaming by a blushing ingenue
    who morphs into an uncle, killed in China
    on the wrong side of the war, leaving his
    sister still mired in grief six decades later
    under the Texas sun.”

    Liked by 1 person

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