I don’t think people know the many and strange entangled reasons a young woman would get into the car to be whisked off into danger by a white man twice her age.
To talk to them on the internet.
There are things far more dangerous than any one man, life for one.
But then you look over and realize you might be left alone with him, and question if you are walking away from death or towards it.
Also, what about those of us without escape? Where home is a safe slow stumble and life is a basket of blanket stares, longing and fear?
We have parking lots. Not cottages. We had gravel and tim horton’s at 2 am.
We sat in our parents car for as long as possible just to be alone.
We took baths. We took showers. We slept.
We hid in our minds.
Secrets became refuge.
Always watched, but so unheard. A thousand bruises went unnoticed as your parents locked the door, closed the blinds, and turned off the light to keep you safe.
Then you become an adult, and anywhere could be a possibility, but you that cage of your youth feels like a tomb drawing in.
brutality on black bodies
Even a blue dust bathed bra soaked in the sweat of my sun soaked skin bites.
Bites into tender sides
Pinches soft parts
A wire to my lung
A sternum on fire with irritation
I am bound.
Stuck in the illusion of safety – when the very things that cling to my sides could kill me at any moment
I must hide my breath and hold my heart…
A bright bird wings beating
Bashed in, time and time again
As the ways of the world claw into me.
Crack my rip cage open between the sobs that rack me
And grab grab grab my frightened bird
Always trying to dash her in the dirt.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to let her fly away.
I wish I too could join her.
Away from hands that pick
Bindings that poke
And the terror to breathe full breaths as I fly so free.
Exposed brick faces me as I wait for words. I run my hands through hair that feels like summer grass and I chew my fingers
Each nail is stripped of its paint, bright and bitter
For a minute my mind drifts into a memory of spring berries bursting sour in my mouth.
I never could wait for summer to ripen.
I sit in the wooden forest of chained benches on coffee island.
Sitting over rocky pavement and surrounded by roaring concrete I remember the baby bird we nudged towards death.
We chipped away, peeling at the shell with hungry prying fingers, even as the chick lay shuddering and cowered from the light. Relentless in our need to complete the harm, forcing it to hatch faster than I could keep it alive.
The colour are even correct.
Greys of every shade and wood being transformed into ghostly boards at the appallingly slow pace of destruction this intersection of the suburbs and city can handle.
It is here I hide. Watching desperately interested in finding out about each person that walks by.
My cup hides me.
My phone hides me.
My drink hides me.
My gender presentation hides me.
Hides my gaze.
Maybe even something twisted that can feel like power in the shadows.
The chains on the bench at coffee island make a kind of wretched sense that is far too stark to give words to.
Remember when the drinks stopped pouring and I came undone?
walking home completely sober limbs pulled apart
concrete under finger nails I dug in desparation
past any point of return
dug a grave shallow so all would see my rot
What prayers were said?
who stood vigil as I returned to earth?
did you sprinkle sand and seeds over my greening grave?
Did you kiss the memory of loving me in the dark?
the softness of my skin seared into your fingertips.
How many tears were shed?
did you count and collect them all?
A quantification of a life lost…
a callous number to round out so much incomplete dreaming…
footsteps never taken
passports never stamped
but so many stolen kisses
So many words bleeding heavy over poorly bound books
purchased in the absence of real direction
unfollowed up on
without any hope of panning out
effort to what end?
now I am the bones ground away by time
the marrow that feeds worms
now I wait for the sun
Give me english unwhitened
dragged by the ancestors
melinated in mouths magic
or speak none at all
A heart bursts open to reveal a tender moon that no chains can trap
nor hands can tuck away
No light and uncertainty to fall away from an ache that began with your being,
pressed into the backs of your eyelids
etched into bones
Desire demanding and breath revealing
through murky water that spills
into an ocean of ancestors tears
Terror follows with tides and teeth
Relief is a crumbling in cracked hands
You cannot pray the ocean away
Alive or dead, the water will drown us
Deliver our bones
Bloated and betrayed
In water where there is none