I Ask Mother if She Is Listening
By Jessica Kim
and there is no answer. Telephone zapping into muteness.
This is where folklore turns into reality; there was once
a queen mother who stabbed her son. He lived, but only
in exile. Mother, do you not feel pity for this prince?
How there was no hand to caress his cheeks, the scar
from the blade as the only remnant of family. Tonight,
he will dream of rebellion dressed in a silk nightgown
and I will dream of home. The way I can still unlatch
the front gate in twilight and the prince tries to unlearn
all the secret passages into the palace, instead framed as
a trespasser. Only then will he see his mother scurrying
out to him. The queen dies before she can make out her
son on the throne and he sobs into her clammy palms,
static with exorcism. This, a bad omen. Mother, I am
a work of divination and I will tell you the prophecy
ends here. Waiting for an answer, lifeline in standstill.