My poem “The Deku Butler’s Son” is up now at Sidequest. I based this one on The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, one of my all-time favorite video games. One aspect I love about the game is you advance by helping others, but for my poem I wanted to write about a part that frequently appears in lists of the darkest moments in the Zelda franchise. It’s a detail that infuriates and haunts me still and proves how withholding one piece of an otherwise happy ending can produce an effect ranging from irksome to devastating: the Deku Butler’s son. He’s one character you cannot save. By the end of the game, you’re equipped with all the means to heal him—if you could only reach him.
I should add that I composed “The Deku Butler’s Son” during recent incidents in the U.S. drawing greater attention to systemic racism, and I also thought of the immigrant experience within my family tree (no Deku plant pun intended there). It got me thinking that Link lives that experience, that of an immigrant, in Majora’s Mask—and through him, so do we. We enter a new land stripped of our identity and undervalued. We have to find our way, educate ourselves, befriend allies, earn trust and respect. Taking things a step further, eventually in the game we experience the privilege of being able to “pass” as different identities. I descended from four grandparents born in four different countries (Ecuador, Peru, Germany, and the U.S.), so I think about that privilege a lot.
At one point while drafting this poem, I jotted a question to myself: “give closure or be tragic?” In retrospect, that’s probably a false dichotomy. After all, the conclusion to Majora’s Mask does both.