Word after Word is POWER

My mother doesn't love me                   constantly longing to dig me out of her belly,

to be scraped clean like a fish in a market

resentment is killing her        rotting her inside,

she's trying but she can't love this baby


and my aunt aida saves my life

grabbed me right by the face

and kissed me as I fell backwards into a stupor

her laughter flows into the sun she tips her head and thanks her god, alhamdulilah

touches her god

like a map              alhamdulilah


always I forget she's buried more children than she is raising

she won't stop tipping her head and laughing into the sun                  painting her face

in gratitude

even when she's holding a small war in her hand


early on I want her to win    i'm on her side, I want her to win the war

to live


the world has to see her win                                    to feel her love

but I don't know how to make her stay forever

to see how she laughs                                        even when the city is crumbling


she's always telling me I am good with words even those I can't find she knows I feel


calls me the word warrior                                             an emotional craft

buys me a little blue book 'write down the greatest thing that happened to you today' 

'silliest thing'                            'boring thing'


so my words begin falling onto paper

word after word after word

I become powerful                                 paper is now crowded like a small city

I leave and my words wait for me                 I find them home and make them stronger

aunt aida says 'now write down the saddest thing that happened today'


and my father leaves                   briefcase swinging

and I learn to wait for him by counting the words in my little blue book

like sunsets

waiting and waiting my words help me wait, they don't climb over each other


and I see god spelling out my name  in my book

and my body won't stop soliloquizing

what my words would sound like if said out loud                       so I give them sound


the air is little letters shaping how I feel

words buzzing over each other to let me know how i'm standing

am i parted or together?

shaping me

I am in the shape of poem                                                 I write to feel

to remember how to get home          how to count the sunsets

how to laugh like aida

I breathe my words out           wear them like skin

I write to be one with the sun        I am not separate from my words

my father is gone   1,036 sunsets

and my aunt aida lives forever

my words are power                           they hold me up like the foundation of a house .


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