Month: May 2017

Appropriator: Employment application OR Lost and Found 

I ate from the table, making sure that my elbows rested,

left hand never rose from my lap,

and that my water glass sip

didn’t crumple the invitation given to me.

It’s all one big chance to win it big,

find your place,

use two euphemisms,

about finding a culture that doesn’t make me feel like an outsider.

See, I’ve never been outside the United States

but I’ve been a guest in more than four states-

examining each spine I come in contact with.

I look at backbones on sale,

placing wagers if I can score one like that,

like hers prepackaged without shipping and handling fees.

You don’t understand,

how misplacement in adulthood

asks the questions: who are you, where are you from,

and will you fit in here?

I look at skin, eye shape, collar bone,

and find myself in a Polly Pocket world

switching between identities, communities, 

and grievance of reparations in hopes I will be invited to eat

at this table again. 

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Divinity, makes her laugh

She talks about heaven as if it doesn’t exist.

She sees the world as an expanse,

where our entire beings are smaller than our pupils.

In the burst of stars

 combusting anxieties across the galaxy,

I stop putting factions of what is right or wrong

in people’s mouths. She believes there is a world

a part from humanity that should benefit.

She reminds me that the world is alive

tingling in the veins of leaves,

and on algae gripping onto coral bodies.

She makes heaven sound otherworldly,

Out of place for the bound book –

I forget to open. I forget to search nose down,

As I’ve been taught. I felt religion came in waves, 

I teleported through peace intervals,

and smiled when I saw the earth as not mine.

Instead, I, in origin belong to the ground, the sea, 

the duty of sustaining life other than my own.

She speaks as if heavens don’t matter, 

because indulgence doesn’t matter if the earth is hurting.

She makes heaven sound like another planet,

out there orbiting as a moon.

She makes heaven sound so old,

That the clouds remember the grazes of prayers,

my people already sang when they came crammed in ships.

She makes heaven sound like a body,

washed and wrapped in burial cloth

waiting for the younger generations to come

pay respects. She makes heaven sound fleeting as a

shadow over the grass on summer day. 

Eating lemons with sugar (Reflection on childhood)

Sometimes I do not want to tell my story. I sit there listening to everyone else’s description of their old neighborhoods or how such-and-such relative said yes or no to change. My silence becomes stuffed with assumptions of how my story is told.

Once, I sat with a group of women outside on a terrace. Protected from the sun’s beams, each went around the circle and told how location raised us all. Country borders had brought a few of them to realize how their lives could have been dramatically different. They could have nursed multiple children, but instead they sat in iron chairs comparing philanthropic discussion. The privileges blew clouds above us. I watched as some recalled a time that was much similar. A part of me sat there and wanted to claw at the air with my hands how life could not be bottled. I cannot tell my stories without feeling as if those around me understand what I truly mean.

I wasn’t born into this…but it’s a choice to observe these rituals.

I wasn’t exclusively oppressed, but I know of chains that exist solely in the mind.

I wasn’t denied access to resources, but we hid the fact that we used them.

I had moved several times in my life. Each city brought different views of the same sky. In the background, things I have learned to covet about myself could not be good enough for the new home. In third grade, I used to sing. When I took a shower or a bath in our brick house which seemed as if we would live in it forever, I sang loudly.. When the cars of both of my parents were packed with our most essential things, I left my voice behind in our old house. As we backed out of the gravel driveway, the trees which had the etched initials of my best friends could no longer be a part of me. I could not sit out there in the rain, on one of the higher branches and rub my fingers over those grooves. I didn’t cry ¬†when we left for a different state. In the embrace of my friends,I told them I would come back. It would not be long, but it was. Years had gotten between us, and I had visited once only to find how much I didn’t fit inside my old school. The stairs I could not run up and down as quickly, and skip two at a time. Familiar faces no longer worked there, and ones who did – did not possess the same wonder I had once found.