A Space for Women of the World
On rainy days I wake up only
to fall asleep on his bed.
“what’s wrong Nakita?”
“i think I have the flu.”
He gives me food and tells me to rest.
What I don’t tell him is that after
less than a quarter of a century
of being here, I feel as jaded as
Dambudzo might have felt when he
returned to his beloved Zimbabwe
Only to find that there was nothing
For him there besides a typewriter
and a park bench.
There is nothing for me here
except a book and feet that refuse
to touch the ground when they walk.
So I walk in whispers, every
bone in my body mimicking silence,
too afraid to wake the things that cannot
be put back to sleep.
My grandmother tells us a story
about how she built a one room
house for her children. Everything about
her is a wild river, fluid in movement
and solid in persistence.
I come from a long line of rivers,
So when my body begins to reject
water, I take it as a sign that I am
a generation too late to be a part of this.
“eat Nakita, then rest”
There is too much wind in his words,
too much of this thing I cannot hold.
I shrink into a fetal position.
This must be what being reborn looks
Like: crumpled paper in a foreign book.
I come from a long line of rivers.
My mother married my father after she
gave birth to me. Everything about me
feels like a sin, feels like an obsessed god
trying to draw a straight line on uneven ground.
What is it they say about the children of sin?
What is it they say about what it means
to be born on the wrong side of a rigid morality?
What is it they say about what it means to not belong?
“eat Nakita, then rest. It gets better.”
I come from a long line of push and pull,
push and pull until even the ugly and forgotten
ghosts are exposed.
This must be what it feels like to be air under water.
My country is a rotten body sprawled across the street.
My country is a rotten body feeding flies.
My country is a rotten body wearing hate like a justification.
My country is the love we all needed but never knew how to give.
My country is the place where even the streets are not home.
There is too much sun here,
Too much hate,
Too much “your skin is too dark to be from anywhere but the place
Where even the moon is a bonfire”
My country is a lover that left to find gold.
My country is a mother whose children raise themselves
My country is a brother that broke himself playing man.
My country is the tears that wash my face.
My country is the song whose melody will always change before we learn it.
My country is the lily always screaming
“I dare you to love me.”