Voices can wisp and still pierce; 

I’ve felt it. At twenty. I remember 

a stop light. I grew crutch-heavy, 

felt-lined on the outtake—there 

were many more walls, all shouldering. 

The hazy windowpane.

Things that remind me of my father 

include: talk radio, the Sports section, 

Sinatra. An eagle I spotted in Canada. 

A kitten laid down in new snow.

Radio comes from the word radiate 

—invasion of space. A tool nature 

uses to fool us, render some nights 

slumberless. My bed is a mash of 

fabrics and licked-away wishes. 

When I was two, I wanted

nothing more than a make-believe 

kitchen set. The same year I jerked 

an iron from its perch, burnt a triangle 

into my hip. It’s still there, if you care. 

Transmission: my father taught me 

to twirl pasta into a spoon. Transmission: 

my mother tells a story of riding 

in a friend’s Jeep down the Pacific Coast 

Highway, being stopped by the cops, 

later the friend explained why he sweated 

so much: the ten or more pounds of cocaine 

in the truck. Before, I was embarrassed 

of this history. Now I think: what luck. 

To get away. 

I see tunnels of intellect that divided

my father and my mother as geomagnets. 

Cells that once pushed forward weakened

ten times faster than scientists expected. 

Transmission: I have written many words 

around static to try and silence it. 

I have thorns of memories that are not mine:

rosebuds growing in my limbic system, 

a mountain slope in perpetual bloom.

Pluck one rose: a man holds a knife 

to my mother’s throat. He is a father. 

He is somebody’s father. Who belongs to him? 

Who do I belong to? 

For as many sunsets. For the clocks I lost 

count. As I called myself an orphan before 

I was one. I did check statistics, facts, 

information: the most obvious symptoms 

are movement-related; these include shaking, 

rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty 

with walking and gait


idiopathic (having no known cause)

I walk briskly. Even in humidity. 

I hold my hand above my head in side-

angle pose. My spine. I think about 

my own decline often, tell jokes about 

my demise happening before I turn 40. 

Transmission: my father’s entire livelihood,

income depended on the strength of his 

body and his confidence that it would not 

betray him. I call what happened beguilement

This is an understatement. Parkinson’s primary 

feature is cognitive decline, which can lead to hallucination.

I pull What Ifs from a pillow, (the spot 

I once fished for dollars and luck) pinch 

the base of my neck, hippocampus, limbic 

system, cerebral cortex. As drawn to the brain 

as I am afraid. Where memory is stored

the death of dopamine-producing neurons

Where memory is destroyed. Destroys?

What do knives remind you of? 

A shaking woman. She’s not cold,

it’s California. There’s something else:

a prismatic hour feasting on the room.

I watch a man torched from a photograph. 

A smoking car. It seems like all the women

are running away, have been running, never 

stopping. Was it her father? My own? Genetic, 

ancestral. Hereditary, patrimonial. 

To err is human, to persist is devilish. 

This is not my tale to invoke and warm

by the stove. Old shoe, black shoe. Died 

before I had time. Counting my steps, I’m

a tick-tock at a quick clip. Car-want. Car-thirst. 

Car-hunger and hanker. 

An orphan must learn to love the highway. 

I see a three-year-old palm in the hand 

of another (a kind of astrology, divination). 

The hours before I taught myself lessons

of on-ramps, geography, tectonics. 

Transmission: in this telling, no drought. 

In this telling, I have yet to move 

through the space of a quake, the vicious, 

headstrong earth. I ask the man (is it 

my father?), What wet? And he says, This 

is rain. Rain. How could you forget?