SPLIT

I am a woman and I speak.
I am a woman with lines on her face and I speak.
I am a woman with lines on her face and scars on her belly and I speak
with the voice of a mother
I said, a mother

twice split
once by a scalpel
once by the violence of a baby’s head

a woman who writes and plays guitar with hands scarred
and aged from cleaning up shit

a woman who called herself ‘expecting’
but didn’t expect to be split,
body and soul,
half the precious young personality blasted away

I speak with the voice of a woman who knows what it means
to have her choices removed
to be so tired she can barely walk
and keep walking
to be so sick she can barely speak
and keep
singing

I speak with the voice of a woman who knows how to
love unconditionally

and who is ready to die when it is necessary.

 

HE DOES NOT MAKE WORDS FOR ME.

He does not make words for me.
He makes me a mirror,
frames it in jarrah.
He makes a coat-rack
for my long black coat
and the children’s raincoats.
When I ask him to,
he installs tracks and poles
for my curtains, moves furniture
to where I want it,
devising solutions
to the problems engendered
by these eccentric walls.
On a mandolin,
with its pairs of strings
too taut for bending blue,
he plays music that shows me only
itself.
He asks me nothing
but the open question of skin.
He makes tea and toast every morning.
He does not make words for me.

 

Jackson

Note: Both poems were first published in Cottonmouth and are reprinted from the author’s website proximitypoetry.com, respecting the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Photo: César.Gutiérrez

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