DIVISION – Shareen K Murayama


After I taped our bedroom in halves
inspired by Donna Summer’s eyebrows
my sister corralled her stuffed animals to safety
dubbing them bitch, bastard, legitimate one.

We were our own countries now.
The parting of shag carpet complete
where traitors could be flung—
off the wall, off the desk,
off the shoulder of our mother,
off the back of a grandmother rolling in her grave
then nothing but net—
into a yellow bird’s feeder box.

Keeping clear of Donna’s fault line
my sister wondered what caused the bird
to jump to its death, a thousand ants
hungry to attend its celebration of life.

No one wanted to deal with the details, seating chart,
if circle tables offered maximum coverage.
Not knowing most of the guests
my sister sat alone at the reception table.

But the guests didn’t mind; they were too busy
stitching limbs to verbs in a toast
our drunk brother delivered —
Thus-iz why — more bird books in schools! Dammit.
They loved him for that.

When the officiant asked for hypocrisy:
Does everyone present promise to so on & so forth?
Everyone cheered in unison: We will! We must!

After the ceremony, every family member
& their dog went to see how they were remembered.
No one stepped forward to collect their song
or break the glass. Our drunk brother insisted
he ought to get the country house.

A dog fight ensued; they let their people loose.
The officiant couldn’t resurrect the peace
& hid in the mountain for years.

My family has scattered, like locust.
Someone heard they’ve descended on India
now moving to Kenya & Ethiopia.
I call home only when I’m longing for silence.

Shareen K. Murayama lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. She has degrees in English from the University of Hawaii and Creative Writing from Oregon State University. Her art has been published or is forthcoming in No Contact Mag, Stone of Madness Press, The West Review, 433 Magazine, Ghostheart Lit., Crab Fat, Prometheus Dreaming, Inter|rupture & Phoebe. You can find her on IG & Twitter @ambusypoeming.