Soft

 

 

 

Do you know what it is like to have the softness torn away from your throat?

When every other word is a small wound performed upon a breath.

 

You see a part of yourself written up in a foreign article

 

in a tangle of words that you can’t understand.

 

You hear the name of your birthplace on the news.

 

And the mouth that wraps around the name is bitter.

You hear the sharp edges in ‘violence’

and the brutal sounds in ‘corruption’ sound more like condemnation.

 

Sometimes the words come in sets,

 

like fraternal twins that have their own secret code.

‘Gang Violence’.

‘Murder Capital’.

‘Narco State’.

 

This is not your place of birth.

 

This is a mirage made of words.

With boundaries delineated by language. 

 

 

Do you know what it is like to have the softness torn away from your throat?

When the songs of your mothers are but a whistle in the breeze

 

 

In my head is a small vision,

 

 

of this mirage made of words.

It has texture and smell and sound.

It has mass, It has velocity,

it has a voice,

a favorite color,

a flower that falls asleep when I touch it with my finger

 

It never approximates objectivity

And it’s silent thus

 

I have come to learn that

For some, the boundaries are nebulous, and unremarkable

For others, boundaries have a physical manifestation,

a materiality splits their bodies in half

 

yes

I also built borders within myself.

constructed by guilt, memory and loss

 

I was born in a place where the architecture of our homes

 

Was a system of control and safety

designed to keep predators out--

with steel bars covering my childhood window

An artifact of fear

 

 

Concrete fences,

 

 

Barbed wire, and the shards of broken glass bottles

lined the boundaries that separated us from one another.

 

Within my spaces of intimacy I have delineated borders.

 

Places for safety,

Places for refuge,

Pleasure and pain.

 

I carry home inside of me, because I crossed a line that cannot be uncrossed

I had to learn to be invisible.

To teach the razors in my tongue to disappear.

 

 

Do you know what it is like to have the softness torn away from your throat?

When you can no longer remember what your soft is supposed to be like .