Franny Choi – “Prayer for the Untranslated Testimony”


A wall of cops moves like a wall
of water on a barge, no beauty. A wall of iron swallows the woman
who falls to the ground and keeps falling. There’s a video. The picture stays intact, again. It’s not pretty,
meaning it’s hard to watch. When a poet says
we have to keep our eyes open, I know who he’s talking to,
I don’t listen, or I listen enough to hate him. If I say the woman dragged by her hair,
if I compare it, I “witness,” meaning stood by the window, meaning shudder,
let hand fall gently over lips, pulled coat tight, tighter. A wall of cops bucks
like a frightened boar. If I describe it, will it speak? If I say it came furtive
and dressed in red, the cops think cop thoughts. The cops move. They walk like a walk,
like an economy, which after all is a fairy
bucking with hunger. Not pretty, not picture. I follow the border patrol agent
through the airport, thinking fast thoughts,
blood fast, bloodhound steps. He buys a burrito. If I say he stood alive in line,
and my friends are afraid to leave their bathrooms. My friends who I love and love and… my friends who eat from plates, who plug cords into machines for singing. If I say a wall of men standing
on my friends’ necks, if I describe it, my friends, who slice
plums illegally on soccer fields, whose knees move like knees
into the grass if I name the grass, if I call sweet liquor and smoke, if I say cloy, if the child shrieks
as she’s swung, if the sun, if August, if blue juice, will it talk? The cops are thinking cop thoughts. They move with a wall inside them, answering machines, answering. The window rattles,
and I fall to my real knees. If I hoist my friends up
so they can be seen by whom? If say they are beautiful,
if I compare, if the sun touches the glass,
and I feel it. I try to hear the border patrol agent
order his food. I listen long enough,
then walk to my gate. I feel ashamed and put it in my sleeve
and later I make it a picture, like everything. The wall moves like a fairy, like a woman
through an airport, like a wall. If I say I watched the woman
brought down by her hair and watched the woman cry and cried. If the storm skips my door again, if I leave to kill another goat, if I promise my crop, if I paint the wall up and down
in sacred W’s, if I make it any color, will someone put it in her mouth? If I close my eyes, imagine it, if I imagine it, if I think of something to say,
the cop speaks, and I call a plum into his mouth. It doesn’t shut him up. The cop kneels
in the grass below my friends. My friends crowned with August
and salt, my marigold, my wave. They laugh like a branch laughs. They make machines for singing. If I say a palm in the small of the back, if I say sun-warmed glass, if I say sun glass breaking open the gate. (applause)

5 thoughts on “Franny Choi – “Prayer for the Untranslated Testimony”

  1. I loved this poemm, btw guys could you just take 5seconds to subscribe to me, my goal is 1k❤️I’ll return if u want me to

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