The Original Hyperlink Was the Word

and the Word was a door that a brother
and sister would walk through together
and end up in different rooms.
They could hold each other’s hands
—threaded fingers locked at the knuckles—
step over the Word’s threshold and find themselves
apart. I say the word door and you stand
before a framed variant of light.
You say door and I find my forehead
pressed against particleboard
inside my first bedroom in Arizona
before our father installed the knobs.
Eye to the bored-out hole, I can see
your eye staring back at me. I say eye
and you sight down the barrel of a rifle
at an empty field from a hunting blind.
You find no limit to the stillness there.
You say eye and I touch the crepe-like skin
of our mother’s face. I can feel where her joy
multiplies but not her long aversion to sin.
I say sin but I mean weakness.
You hear weakness and you are standing
in your briefs on cold tile while other boys
bustle and sweat around you.
You aren’t sure which part of your body
you should cross your arms over. I hear body
and I disconnect like a phone from its cradle.
I tell you cradle and you see me for the first time
fifty years ago—squalling and pink.
The hall light shines through the crib slats
and leaves bars made of darkness
across my sleeping form. You say
the word darkness and I have arrived
at your house before sunrise,
newly divorced and unbundling
my four year-old out of her car seat.
She is round in her winter clothing.
Milky-warm with sleep.
I bury my face in her fur-lined hood
until the buckle unfastens with a click.
But the Word doesn’t wake her.
She hardly even stirs.

“The original hypelink was the word” is a quote pulled from a craft talk by Eduardo Corral.