IH (April 30,1989 / Virginia)

Family Bonds

Mung beans and millet boiled in a skillet
'cause I don't own a pot. You might get shot,
out alone, my mother warned. She forgot
time zones permit less darkness between us.

Family—attention—not to mention,
love: that's the answer. An answer, just not
mine. Such a sweet baby, but what's the use?
The population's already profuse
without me contributing. I painted
this for you; that's all I'm committing to.
Look, you can put it right next to your chair,
and it will almost be like I am there—

'Reticent, as usual, ' you complain.
But I don't think I should have to explain
why everything is inadequate,
even the rain, when we are united.
I much prefer affection requited
from a distance, and if my resistance
to companions frets you, there's nothing I
can do…I've gotta live before I die…

and as for why I've traveled far from you:
what can I say except the wind called me to
follow the direction of the swallows? —
To find out what is true—And not from you.

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