Or Banished

Photo by Megan Chung

by Sarah Berg

or, banished

family history is hot these days / so quit
asking why / i’m interested / all i wanted / was a story

a grandparent / or two / a dotted line / an arrow indicating direction
an ancestor imagined / in nineties dress or

bad behavior / in shakespearean manner / this story’s rebels do die
they who traveled / interior distances / doubled back / into the south

looking to me / like foreign newsprint / dead then / i unfeel
like dipping / paper in water til / it’s gone

forgetting tastes / like strange medicine / remembering
like wet ink / from stone i demand to / listen as if / i can

understand that / mourning is hereditary / justice
feels like weeping til i get / a new tongue or til

the border weeps / itself into waiting
arms that wait for / mouths / that ex / claim salt