Paulo César León Palacios CC
I tried to re-establish contact and lead with lament. But then someone whispered a sweet little chestnut of bygone days into my ear---it caused me great hesitation. But I had so much catching up to do and memory is nothing if not a curative force of nature. A slice of cold , exoctic fruit is akin to oblivion if placed directly on the tongue by a trusted hand, like a black star sending signals directly to your night terrors. It is in our nature to seek what spits us out, over and over. Without the taint of the frilly edge of betrayal , we might all get used to the stance of the longsuffering, how lovely we could become with a tilted glance considered inopportune, but preordained nevertheless. It is always the hope of better days that stops us dead in our tracks. Every single time.
Domestic Violence, 1972
Some signs of an inability to defend oneself are obvious---the eyes ringed in black, revenge on the scalp in the form of jagged patches of hair left only to humiliate, the absence of the eyebrows, usually drawn with precision over the first cigarette and black coffee of the day. I discerned patterns early on, and could feel bad momentum gathering like a freight train through the shared wall, usually the kitchen , the scene of so many domestic dramas. The home becomes a symbol of malignant enlightenment , the opposite of magical moments cultivated in a thriving industry of dreams. The distance you can put between what you hear and what you will take with you, cradled in your stick-like arms and carried out the thick and heavy door , is a reptilian disturbance you will sublimate. It will take years for this harm to reveal itself. You will fight only for the pleasure you might be able to extend into your everyday life. When a boy shoves you for the first time , you will still think that equality is possible. Life goes on. You can hear it through the dividing wall. The clink of the forks against the plates, Frank Sinatra on the stereo, kids squealing with laughter. No one blinks an eye. Your mother slaps the glass you’ve carefully and quietly placed between your ear and the wall, trying to understand the incongruity of the peculiar domestic scene: unimaginably, garlands one moment and crossfire the next.
Michelle Reale is the author of several poetry collections, including Season of Subtraction (Bordighera Press, 2019) and Blood Memory (Idea Press, 2021).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.