Poem: Anthony Cody

Illo for Anthony Coody's poem.

A Theft from the Liminal

How I keep watch at the periphery.
How I almost utter the n-word, look at a friend, and catch myself. How I saw a man pull at a purse and punch an elderly woman. How I never forget what he tried to call his neighbor. How I see my grandma, my nani, or my mother, in 30 years. How I notice how strong she was. How I give chase. How I do not look away. How I look away. How I am not hurt. How I do not save the lady. How I run down the alleyway. How I hear my mother say Be careful. How I tell my nephews standing on the backs of chairs, reaching for a box of cereal, Be careful. How I go back to the old woman to raise her. How I count the money. How I see her lips spill red. How I hear the cops ask her who did this, Who did this. How I hear her describe me in Spanish. How I describe the man, who is really 13. How I return to the scene. How I point him out walking down the street. How I now see the eye is blackening. How I walk into the liquor store to buy milk, a pack of banana taffy, and two cans of soup. How I do not look away. How I identify him from across the street. How I cannot hold onto the groceries. How I was 13 once, riddled with chicken pox and stuck at home in summer.
How I notice the milk.

How I wait.

How I go to juvenile court.

How I wait.

How I say I do not recall how the boy looked under oath and do not blink.

How I wait.

How I never forget the look on your face.

How I hear the cops say They always do this.

How I notice they never define their antecedents.
Anthony Cody is from Fresno, California. He is a CantoMundo fellow, an editorial member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle, a fellow at US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s Laureate Lab at Fresno State, and a graduate of Fresno State. His poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, ToeGood Poetry Journal, Tropics of Meta, and El Tecolote Newspaper, in a collaborative art project with visual artist Josue Rojas. He served as co-editor of How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011), in which he also contributed poems. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. To read more of Anthony’s work visit www.anthonycody.com.

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