"Energy in Motion II" (2016), by Ezequiel Jimenez from Wikimedia Commons
How to Assemble a (1) Native (2) Nippon (3) Cubana Body in (4) Appalachia?
My burnt body hangs crisscross over Carolina beach dunes below where? family gathers children’s ringing sand splash toys tangled in teenage lust? the skin consciousness potential of everyone eyeing one another? in sunbursted bottoms there is nothing here but the bliss of this day? & so I think on death hanging out over the Atlantic so many dead
mi familia? watashi kazoku? kwaji’ya’? my kinfolk
there are four ways to name the century of dying in me what passions grew? a mixed-mixed-skinned boy who would plant his body here & witness?? a happy beach rooted in the smile of so much untilled history somewhere? the open ocean ferried my padre between Cuba & Miami swam pescado? inside each swell of lung unmoored he said until his mind?fell into love? with the woman who fled America’s internment camps a pregnant Nippon? daughter’s flight from San Diego to a Carolina quarry tegami kaku yo? I’ll write you letters?she touched the shovel-shaped incisors of a Native? American boy whose floorboards were still booting the reeducation each hode’noda’? song of de facto fathers my Onondaga origin bowed beneath the whip? of whiteness lashed he laid down love for my kin who ran skinny rail? lines what split Appalachian silt & marl my feet saddle all the loosed? mud of so many continents where everyone is gone somedays & somedays? they aren’t because I believe on days like this with a mouthful of expiring? sun the potential of a small beginning what sustains a soul across imagined borders? what finds tortured bodies their song of forward rejoicing.?Enjoy this poem? Subscribe to the?Oxford American.
Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s debut book,?Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot,?selected by Bob Hicok, was published by Backwaters Press in fall 2018. His work has appeared in?Tin House, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review,?and elsewhere. A member of the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans, Kingsley is currently the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland.