Motherland, Formless & Void

Jordan Nakamura

You find yourself driving aimlessly
in a city with no moss.

The city dwindles as you drive further
into the blue ache of the stereo,
a trumpeter playing something like tulips
opening, and the road, like most,
leads finally to the sea.

Because it is ancient, the one ancient thing
you have been near in months, and the same
altar, the same school of reflection,
and in your nose and down your tongue,
taste of its riddles of persistence,
the salt that was in your father’s mouth
when he went to the cliffs to pray as his car
was broken into and even his Bible was stolen,

your mother laughing saying if they read it
maybe they will bring it back, her heart
had that kind of humor, that kind of hope,
the same taste as the friends who confessed
wandering down to the dropoff to step out
into the original sound but turned,

and that they did became a hinge where the rest
of your life is knotted, and salt gracing skin
on the backs of the marooned, and it is in you and still
you do not know it, because of all this you
are afraid. But already you’ve left your car,
and stand at the limit of the ridge.

Waves unaccompanied by bird talk,
a song old as God. You make an ocarina
of your hands, fingers sealing out the night
wind around a heart shaped darkness,
a trick your father left you.

You send the breath through the valves
over obscured waters, toward
the north of a second sight.

No moss in the city
growing over the stone of old pagodas.
No pagodas in the city, no peace, no prayer.

In place of stars, a shroud,
an upturned basin hoarding engine refuse.
Stern towers through which the dark
freight of commerce moves.