Brian Komei Dempster

My Mother Watches Horses with Brendan

Through the fence you look out,
          their hooves breaking new earth.
Sleek fur the shade

          of bourbon. Kicking up clods
of green. I wheel you closer

          to shaken ground. Grandson,
at ten year’s old, you point at them. Once, I thought
          I heard you say the word, horse.

Someday I’ll paint you
          the story. Topaz rain galloped

over roofs, barracks thundered. We were the ones
          corralled. My hands
on your shoulders, your hand taps

          my wrist. Look. They are
flying. Over crests of hills. Running into

          the sky. Go far enough, speak
what you can, there’s love
          in silence, all things, they come and go.



Brian Komei Dempster’s first book of poems, Topaz (Four Way Books, 2013), received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. His second poetry collection, Seize, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in fall 2020. He is the recipient of grants from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. His poems have appeared in journals such as The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, North American Review, and Ploughshares as well as been anthologized in Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, & Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008) and Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (University of Illinois, 2004).