I locked my mouth like the doors of your eyes
Globes full of museums with hollow hallways
Which pocket holds my key?
Which page can cut the deepest?
Break the backspace
Present presents with lessons wrapped in aluminum foil
How do you do it?
Scream for my silence in silence?
Shape the subject into you?
I’ll tell you how I did it
It was not on purpose
Do you feel me running down your hand
Because of how you gripped me?
Every crevice of me leaking?
There’s too much of you
No dictionary has me
Slam the book
Slam yourself inside
I’ll make room
I didn’t notice I let go
I’ve been nurtured into slippery
Cultivated into clumsy
When I said you weren’t bothering me
I didn’t mean it
And when you insinuated I was made just for you
I wished I were a rib
Replace your question marks with God
Replace your ignorance with facts
Let go of my hand to put yours on the clutch
Reverse me back to the only corner with no webs
Erase the games of tic tac toe on my skin
With your tongue
Undress me to my skeleton
Taste me then kiss me
I use your hair to clean my fingers
Because it feels good
Because I want to feel the residue of your brain under these nails
Then flick them away like the nuisance you are
I love the new haircut
I love the temple
But that is all
We’re the pink spit from brushed teeth
Is it the paste and blood
Because I brushed too hard
Or is it the paste and Koolaid
The cherry kind we breathed as kids
But now doesn’t taste the same
But now taste like required insulin
Won’t you discuss me one more time
Say those words we’ve all heard before
Say it like you mean it
Say it like a song
Say it like we’re single
Home is where the sound of sirens are lullabies. Where single moms dream when they blink. Where the candles smell like the places we’ve never been. Where the grass on the other side is as green as money. Home sparkles with resilience. Home has tears that could quench thirst. Sometimes our smiles are tired from being bent but we smile anyway. Home is where neighbors offer you mangos from their trees. Where Grandma plants her own collard greens. Where aunties and uncles smoke blunts and black & milds while playing cards. Where there are t-shirts and towels dancing in the wind, waiting to be dry. Where a surplus of men roam the streets and fatherless children sleep untucked in bed. Home is where your mom approves your sleepover with your cousin just for y’all to laugh until Auntie yells for y’all to go to bed. Home is where the pastors are loud and the choirs are louder. But who one can hear us? Who will listen? Home is where the clouds slow down prayers. Where the people are darker from flying too close to the sun. Home is a whisper of water touching the seeds who can make it out. Home is a 9 to 5. A 7 to 3. An 11 to 7. A clock in and a clock out and a clock broken. Home is a bowl of dirt and glitter. Home is a rearview mirror glistening with neighbors, aunties, uncles, cousins, play-cousins, friends, classmates, moms all waving and watching your journey on the yellow brick road.
CHOYA is an adjunct professor at Adelphi University with a B.A. in Mass Communications and M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in Rigorous Magazine, midnight & indigo, Her Campus, The Crow’s Nest, NNB News and elsewhere. She’s a proud Floridian who lives happily on Long Island in New York.