Heather Simon

Violent Reverse

Side ladder. I can tell you where to find it. For this you give can’t. You bottom seaweed attached by threats. Trickle lice. Sea microscopic bed. Step on barnacle bottom. Disturb it on your way over. The alive barely flaps: marlin or mackerel. A long-billed fish. Sometime before a rescue appears a boat. You don’t even know you’re in distress. By board a beak rises. The sun. A new turtle with write to nothing. Its secret. The problem. So you have this describe to want. You have the strength don’t you. The night at hotels from artificial light. Follow their lead. The off wears drive them mad. And the problem is join them will get you wetter. And the problem is your alongside. And the problem is the sea turtles are. Watch. Nothing can hold water. And the problem is you are calm and domestic. And in water. And the problem. Feels everything. Bay at the mouth in anchored boats. The top of the island. Itself releases river. Where you tell me where to land.


Points of Entry

Not a river into the ocean but
a river wrapping around                        always on the brink
forgetting through slots in the dam where I went clinging to loose wood on the first warm day

What I mean is in another language I am learning from you

You two months in detention two months inside and            yard time is flagged   so you stay                   walk the halls work the kitchen a little                 see I understand enough to tell you     I am trying

                                                                  in my bedroom on the other end of the phone
my passport in the drawer in the wallet       ICE listens I’m told they are listening
to us dream and this fucking system my dad swears from his not even flip phone
older       that if he were here
back in America he’d get a gun but he can’t
And that can’t is loaded

So he burns sage and waits for the warmest time of day to shower

and even though
he answers   he never tries

The phone rings and it’s 866 and I no longer need the detention call script
        the only objects are prayer candles and a wooden cross
decorated with Milagros

           In bed she asks                me to remember
                                                not hunger
                                         but backs

His mandolin
                        90% of Americans living in Mexico—
He fixes guitars for half price
and tells me not to worry but
he can’t remember why he left
                        or maybe I remember too well
      parts of me break at anytime

and I am     slowly in my bedroom

And it’s not lost on me
      as I step into a warm shower      close a door

There are things far worse than the things that have taken me years to remember
and even longer to speak of

I am forcing them out of you

in a crowded clinic in a discrete building by the bridge
calling the interrogation CFI prep

You whisper
I take notes and put them in a folder
check the boxes and have you sign a form in english that says you know I’m not    a lawyer

A deck of cards

Things you will have confiscated

Books purchased from amazon only
and sent to you directly
after you’ve filled out the proper paperwork spelled the title correctly
a torn piece of river
your arm committed to every number
a parole packet
an affidavit signed and notarized

all the letters returned to all the senders

      every hospital in LA

             my dad through the lens       a long hallway        in a past life

emptying     mom’s ashes from box   to paper bag on the bed in his motel room

the sea whipping
       my mom’s ashes
                                         past the break

If I could just pronounce how
If I could take passports                 
                                          any card in the deck

If I could tell you miedo creíble
dar apoyo without
       What I want to mean is

      the river that lights you
      is not     just another prayer
                     but the
                             door itself

Heather Simon is a California native residing in Brooklyn. She teaches writing and literature at Queens College and Queensborough Community College. Her writing and visual art often converge, and can be found in The Rumpus, Newtown Literary, Blunderbuss Magazine, Ink Brick, Pretty Owl Poetry, Nomadic Sojourns Journal and others. www.inkmonstersink.myportfolio.com