/sophia terawaza

Bylaw [S.1] String-and-Wire Abecedarian

Stop. There is no cipher
Only sorrow. You must know
By now, Comrade—A.

Guided by Missile; B.
Sonar; Tactical Division—
Tây Nguyên into parts,

That centralizing zone,
I was there—Irregular; On-
Going Zone; D. En Route—Stop.

● ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬

Stop. A poisoned river
Thus re-routed. Stop.

● ● ▬ ▬ ▬

Stop. For any failed attempt
Meant fleeing—Glossa; F. Mid-
Highland—wired, then we—

Somewhere in a thicket
There were rabbits screaming. Stop.

● ● ● ▬ ▬

Stop. As you were wired, made into a game
J. Killed in Action—justifying torture

Through this method—Citizen in Question;
Laughing Could Not Stop Her Laughing—Stop.

● ● ● ● ▬

Stop. I wired—Population—subject to in-
Human treatment. Rabbits, coded—No.

You wired back—O. Mechanized Platoons
Equipped With Arms—
who could believe me?

Regimented—R. Come Forward—Stop.

● ● ● ● ●

Stop. That is your sorrow.
You must know, comrade—U.

Unarmed; Civilian Expected
To Retreat—mistaken for—

V. Enemy in Shadow; Overrun—
Memory’s displacement.

X. On Sight; Pronouncement; Y.
White Wood Line; Universal—Stop.

▬ ● ● ● ●

Stop. That is my sorrow.
Stop. I could not stop you.

▬ ▬ ● ● ●

Zippo—ambush; wire—Missions—
Codifying—silver; straw—that difference
Made italicized then strung along a water.

Comrade, no, I could not stop you—Z.
That Broken Line Between Us.

 Saigon  to Berlin

Sophia Terazawa is a poet of Vietnamese-Japanese descent. She is the author of two chapbooks: Correspondent Medley (winner of the 2018 Tomaž Šalamun Prize, published with Factory Hollow Press) and I AM NOT A WAR (a winner of the 2015 Essay Press Digital Chapbook Contest). Her work appears in The Offing, Puerto del Sol, Poor Claudia, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in Poetry at the University of Arizona, where she also served as poetry editor for Sonora Review.