Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Syndrome

BY CYNTHIA DEWI OKA

I am still there. In. That hypothalamus. Lightning
stalking the bannister. Rope: antiseptic. Glacier:
 
canvas where your petals lie drying. Like lips
I understand, “Don’t go,” is a cruel thing. To ask
 
with matches. Behind one ear how a hand fists
around a braid, trowel in the other. In moments
 
of crisis I wash my mouth. Twice daily that prayer
be laced with spearmint. On macadam a girl-flock
 
jabbing their beaks. Basketballs bouncing off chain
permanently accentuate. I. One crumb of bread
 
communion-thin. Like all waves we toss over
the wall God being. Ever is behind and the walls.
 
Chalk in memory I prefer it. That way a pastel
Eden orbiting your cranium instead of faulty
 
eyes which can’t. Tell monster from buckets clanging
with rain: there. I am in that hangar the night
 
grass streaked with vomit on pounding red. Of
your heart though scorpion cloud rends foliage
 
what I remember. Is death of illumination in its
cradle. Moths falling like a veil over you me inside
 
the cool. Rooflessness that stands on twisted.
Engine of your waist I creak. With penumbra
 
from the beginning shard aspiring to dynamite.
Dawn. The steeple famine thrust after famine.



Cynthia Dewi Oka is a poet and author of Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). A 2017 and 2015 Pushcart Prize Nominee, her poems have appeared in Guernica, The Massachusetts Review, Meridian, Black Renaissance Noire, Painted Bride Quarterly, Kweli Journal, and others. She is a contributor the anthologies Read Women (Locked Horn Press, 2014), Dismantle (Thread Makes Blanket, 2014), and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016). Cynthia has been awarded the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant, and scholarships from the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writing Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center. Originally from Bali, Indonesia, she is the creator of Sanctuary: A Migrant Poetry Workshop for immigrant poets in Philadelphia. Her second book of poems, Salvage, will be available in 2017 from Northwestern University Press.