my mother occupies the passenger seat. my brother and i
stick in the back.
the radio babbles and sings between us. she is estranged, returning
and we are revenants to a place inside a narration contrived
to read like non-fiction, a continuous telling since one
mouth inside another, one word emigrating from another's vowels.
a paper place we've glossed in novels, in atlases
materialized into sweltering road printed under us, the car
horns blasting past, the black faces that map ours for relevance, the faces that
could belong to our relatives faces we are instructed not to trust, into
whose night we are cautioned against venturing, whose have–not we must not
tempt. my mother banters with the
river driver, her voice
angles into accent, some words chop others stretch. she ent
home, but her return bends
here, her speech soaks into the air near the equator