After the fall, not all the things you have
are yours. But some
are yours. Some you just don’t recognize.
She takes a photograph
from the back of what could be my wallet
and asks, Who is this? Who is it?
Sometimes, now, I put people on pause,
so I did. Who is this
became a frozen garden. Who is it, also.
Honestly I didn’t know
the license, the currency, the thin plastic.
Honestly I didn’t know.
Then suddenly I did, I knew, it was your
father, we’d met in Vidalia.
I was carrying the wrong briefcase, now,
I had the wrong couple
in a frame by the bed, I no longer owned
the tiny viper I’d owned
and kept in a glass case I didn’t have now.
He would have been named
Caesar, or Seizure, or Caesura, or de jure.
He would be fourteen now, my youngest.
I came back from the city,
where the corpses of summer were falling
on everyone, with the cell phone of a man
who had died in an elevator
that would not stop
going down. His people could not believe
he had reached the bottom,
so they kept calling. And so I asked them,
Is your family wise? Is your man
steady? Are the keys of foreign vehicles
shaped like the heads of snakes? Are lies
given or taken? Who’ll get the last name
of all names?
Who is this? Who is it? I was asking them
the same way
I used to ask things, before I came home.