Poem of the Week

Tachistoscope

Madeleine Mori

Watch for the target
symbol    the crossing
guard        the yellow
biplane       the red
baron       the black
widow        the rising
sun       the white
dog        the standing
man        the hostile
man        with a
cane       with a
duffel bag        crouched behind
the dumpster        who is wearing
a hoodie        who has
an average face        who has
no ID card        who needs
an immigration lawyer        who takes
ambien        who owns
the hostel        who runs
the hospital        who decides
the donor list        who delivers
the drugs        who makes
the tear gas        who funds
the art museum        who disappeared
the relief fund        who wiped
the videotapes

See the man
who lacked       a mirror
who smoked        like a movie
whose costume        his self
whose ribcage       a xylophone
heartwood        justice
muzzle       oak leaves
who had mice for genitals
snakes for hunger
who lost        his hair
who lost       his guts
set his river on fire
but never jumped in

Madeleine Mori is a Japanese American poet. Her work has appeared in jubilat, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2021 Asian American Writers’ Workshop Margins Fellow and poetry editor at Pigeon Pages. She lives in Brooklyn.
Originally published:
December 8, 2021

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