previous poem table of contents next poem


Brian Komei Dempster                                 [author bio]

Morning Sutra


She is dreaming me

into my uncle

while I read

the violet sutra,

sponging her forehead

with a hot cloth.

He presses her

petal dress,

soaps the gold

from her finger,

pulls the needle

from her frayed vein

as her face slackens

into the quiet lid

of a closed box.

But he left this room

long ago,

so I pretend

to be him for her

finding the roundness

of her face,

knowing her breath

will come.







Brian Komei Dempster’s poems have appeared in The Asian Pacific American Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Fourteen Hills, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, New England Review, Ploughshares, Post Road, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West as well as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, 2003). He is the editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America’s Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001) and teaches at the University of San Francisco.