October 3, 2016 by The Citron Review
by Cheryl Kutcher
I begin, “Deported after a case of mistaken identity,”
because I heard that phrase as a writing prompt once
but that isn’t right. So I restart: “Deported after
a case of speeding.” And that is accurate but not
enough. “Deported after a case of identified
identity,” but that isn’t really right either
because they already knew who he was: he had
an unpaid ticket and a previous deportation.
But that’s not who he is. So I begin again: “Deported
after a case of desperation. Of separation. Of homesickness
so strong he would cross rivers, swim through traffic
in the trunk of a car. Deported after a case of existing.
Deported after living where he was unwanted. After living
on dry land. I know this because he told me. This is not
my story. I can’t have the luxury to imagine
deportation after a case of mistaken identity
because it assumes an absolution. This story
you prompt me to write—I can’t move past
the first line. Nothing waits for me at the end
of this clause. The author cannot come back
to finish what he started. This story has no end.
It does not help me sleep.
Cheryl Kutcher is an MFA Poetry student at Oklahoma State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gyroscope Review, Toad, Life and Legends, The Tower Journal, and Postcard Poems and Prose.