11.2 / FALL / WINTER 2016


Before you live
you must remember every word
your mother never said.
Like here’s the most perfect hole
to reach into
because what remains
is a space like the hands
you’re beginning
to forget. Promise me
before you live
you remember the darkest
you’ll have ever been
won’t be holding steady
a cocked barrel in your mouth
the wheat field below the house lit
by another autumn. It was always me blooming
you inside me. Before living
swear to me you’ll forget
the way a body carves out its own
season to lie down in.
To never forget the trees
lining the field before the sun
sets at last. Beyond are the torn ghosts
you are to always remember.
There is a voice that leaves
will always hold for you there.
& before you live
you must remember that night
is always falling somewhere
in the world. Someday autumn
could be just another hole
that winter empties into.
Remember me for this hunger
I brought you into. That your warm
body has never lived
without me.

Michael Wasson’s poems appear in American Poets, Narrative, Denver Quarterly, Passages North, and Bettering American Poetry. He is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation and lives abroad.

11.2 / FALL / WINTER 2016