Did I poison his seed? He yellowed, a plant needing
water. All they could do—
shine lights to drain out the jaundice. I am
knotted. Grace’s mother, Give him liquids.
The doctor, Hold back so he’ll take the breast.
And my mother’s question, What did you eat
and drink that night? My veins filled
with sashimi’s mercury, liquid gold Sapporo
in the tatami room where Grace and I made love
and Brendan began. Outside the ryokan
window, Ito’s river twisted into the sea,
my half Japanese and her full Chinese
fusing into a strain impure and volatile.
as we unite. Our double helixes, a strong
braid that unravels from toxic
strands. The needle’s sting, and the vaccine’s arsenic
flows through his vein. Holistic,
megadose miracles. Tsubo pinpoints
on his skin. Fragile X
tests. Fecal transplants. We are pulled
too close. Woven together, we might
mend him. My mother Jin Shin Jyutsu’s him, warm hands
on his cranium. My father crushes vitamins
on his food. He’ll be fine, Grace’s father
says. After hours with him
only one half-built tower. We search surgeons
to take him apart, bring him
back better. One Chinese doctor says, Each seizure
shakes the tree within, frees him
from the past. Spirited away
by his ancestors. This tangle could mean I am
a good father, Grace a good mother. I help him stack
the tower higher, open his trust account.
She holds him
on the tricycle’s black seat. His rhythms
and circles guide, dizzy, disorient us. We follow
jagged lines, come to loose ends, pick up
broken branches. Never just one
way. The tangle. This could mean
it’s all his fault. Or all ours. This could mean
we’ll let go. Or we’ll never
have to. So much to hold. The boy
he almost was.
The boy he is.