Art by Lidia Altagracia
“It takes a lot of work to remember we are nothing
What has history given us but a fickle home? A legacy
of bloodied men.” (Fatimah Asghar, If They Come For Us)
My body has given to rust
I had already quit crying the conventional way
when the psychiatrist told me I needed a higher dose of Prozac
Covid is not the final shelter, the resting place is in believing
now is the time for collective healing.
Little me, little and afraid
of the constant command and presence
that emails and instagram bring, white people clanking on pots with wooden
spoons every evening at 7, their dogs howling against the sounds.
If this were my village, we’d play bombas and huehuetl
dance around in cocoon leg rattles with the Yanqui, onyx and limestone
around our necks, a call and response
celebrating the survival of all our people.
Perhaps the 3000 ancestros are asleep
behind me, I cannot seem to wake them, I am leaning into
what’s left of me—there is no way to tell my daughter
that her people are dead, there are none of us left, and how to be
revolutionary during a pandemic. Rely on the ancestors, I tell her,
They can cook for you or they can burn down your house and there is nothing
Seroquel is a motherfucker to detox insomnia slid under my sheets
even before Campos kids started busting firecrackers outside
that sound like M80s. Suddenly it is L.E.S circa ‘91
‘cept the white folk that pack the edge of the sidewalks sipping
margaritas. Even when the piragua man rang his cowbell in the summer heat
we stood in formations gave space.
Covid has turned us timeless
I tell her as my cat walks across the camera, tail hair sticking to my lips
She laughs at all my facial expressions, tells me I am growing more
than I think because journaling and affirmations and no longer
giving a fuck what my mother thinks of me. I say
there is nowhere to be, no one else to be.
My husband makes Alexa wake me up the same time each morning
because your power is in your mind, your body just a vehicle
It is too soon to break, no sense in dwelling on skipped vitamins
missed showers collapsed muscles or repeated outfits, hardly any point.
Last evening there was a sun storm, thunder and rainbow following behind
I am able to think about other things now