When you were born, I peered at
you from our parents’ bed, on the
wide mattressed field you were
alone, blue blanketed, barely
any wisps of hair. I studied you there,
your slight squirms, the smallest penny
slit eyes. I held you and did not pinch
or squeeze. I carried you toward me.
When I was fourteen and you were ten,
and we were still shaped raw, soft enough
o squish between teeth and jaw. Our fleshy
limbs browned by summer sun. Too hot to
eat until nightfall, mother ordered at the
sandwich shop counter. We watched a man gazelle
over the counter. Robbery in progress. Mother
ducked! I ducked! But you stood static–transfixed
by the gleam of gun, your legs were steeled
in place, but I grabbed hold and pulled and pulled.
Remember how I pulled you in, toward me
Remember how I once kept you safe.
This selection comes from the book, Brother Bullet, available from University of Arizona Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark .
Casandra López is a California Indian (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño) and Chicana writer who has received support from CantoMundo, Bread Loaf, and Tin House. She’s the author of the poetry collection, Brother Bullet and has been selected for residencies with the School of Advanced Research, Storyknife, Hedgebrook and Headlands Center for the Arts. Her memoir-in-progress, A Few Notes on Grief was granted a 2019 James W. Ray Venture Project Award. She’s a founding editor of As/ Us and teaches at Northwest Indian College.
Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly (www.anmly.org
), Co-Editor of the Bettering American Poetry series (www.betteringamericanpoetry.com
) and The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She curated Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio (http://anmly.org/ap25-glitterbrain/
) and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms (http://anmly.org/ap-27-indigenous-futures/
), edited Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, “First Peoples, Plural.” They were co-editor of Apogee Journal‘s #NoDAPL #Still Here folio, and co-edited Apogee Journal‘s series “WE OUTLAST EMPIRE,” of work against imperialism, and “Place[meant]“, on place and meaning, and is a former Executive Board member at VIDA. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations. www.twitter.com/petitobjetb