inheritance

no one will claim this pain. not even my mother,
who handed this hummingbird heart to me in the womb.
my mother. whose soft hands and big eyes did not know
what they were doing when they planted themselves on my body.
what sickness they have sewn into my veins.

we don’t talk about this emptiness. a lifetime of curtain-drawn windows,
of packed boxes, of leaving things behind. of calling bodies whole
because there is no space to be broken. I want to ask my father how long
he ran from the song of his voice before he was forced to listen.

lately, I’m afraid to be alone. I close my eyes when I brush my teeth.
I skip meals. I would rather be hungry than break bread with my thoughts.

I want to ask my grandmother if it’s possible to teach a heart like this
to accept the truth of itself. if any one of us has found the language of letting go.
but I don’t. it is another sunday and I am silent as she stands over the stove.
I come back here, again and again, I know she can’t stand to eat alone.

 

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