Issue > Poetry
Brian Komei Dempster

Brian Komei Dempster

Brian Komei Dempster's debut poetry collection, Topaz (Four Way Books, 2013), received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. His second collection, Seize, is forthcoming (Four Way Books, fall 2020). Dempster is editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001) and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011).

Brendan's Key

An invisible cage—

           we feel him

locked. His quiet                                                            

           bangs against

us. He taps

           our hands—right     

yes, left no. Drops

           the ring

of keys

           at our feet, Car ride now.

His trail shadowed—

           we follow clues. Thoughts


           through him. Coins.

Spoons. Falling,

           clanging. We pick them

up. His heart                         
           a small jar
of lost things. A silver
           window. Light trapped, 

he touches sun

           on glass. Closes

and opens

           a thousand



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