Monday, September 1, 2008

"Brother": Poem selected for "Best New Poets"

Chloe suggested that I post a poem from the new book to give a smidgeon of taste. So, here is "Brother," which begins the fourth section of the book. The poem was selected by Natasha Trethewey for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology, published by the University of Virginia Press.


In mother’s womb, we started as a pair of lungs,
sea slugs hanging on to a reef. We grew toe rays,
brain sponges and gonads relaxed by the liquid song.

The Doppler ultrasound echoed our submarine
and found us one. The truth was monozygotic—
we sucked each other’s nub of thumb inside the brine.

When, headfirst, we were unceremoniously expelled,
we were halved like an egg sliced with a line of hair.
A beak plucked at the cord and knotted my navel.

Mother never speaks of you although I know
you were with me at sea. How else to understand
my panic playing hide and seek, the cracked canoe,

wet dreams of touching a man, waking up, a curse
crying, not knowing why, like a turtle washed ashore,
a lacquered carapace—these shimmering absences?

First published in The Ledge Magazine, Best New Poets 2007, and Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia.

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