for my nephew rocco


you were only four weeks old
when they broke the story
a man beaten down at the border
he died, he was not resisting

where will you lay your head?

and your mother--my sister--
she held you close in an apartment in pilsen
and your father was gentle--he kissed you--
I never knew what gentleness was until then

where will you lay your head?

I was out in the desert, newly divorced
I was happy and lonely
I was watching democracy now! and
heard the cries of departed Anastasio

how do we lay our heads?
blood on a border bed
who will raise a fist
for on who does not resist?

and hernando--
there are some worlds we can’t save
people lie down on the earth before your eyes
and it’s all you can do to set it down
on your video tape
for the pearly gates

raise your fist, the one you clasped around my finger when I met you a couple weeks ago
your father was gentle and your mother was good
I wrote it down: there are sounds
that no one should ever hear!
I wrote it down: there is a sounding in the chest of
your parents holding your head to their breast

where will you lay your head?


from desert EP, released June 18, 2012




peter j hochstedler South Bend, Indiana

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