VISIBILITY Magazine Issue 03. (April 2018) - Page 28

Questions | Permission I have been here before. Where my bed become my trigger, the site where I close my eyes and remember only the hands. Remember when “Stop.” or “No.” or “Please.” Croak from the throat that understood: “They’ll only believe me if I say I said something.” Been here before, where I close my eyes and remember closing my eyes to funnel them moments into grave. Say: “After this, how do I reintroduce myself to my body?” Say: “After this, your shake is your reminder that you are still alive.” When the investigator asks me whether my concussion obstructed my memory of the assault, my body defends herself the only way she knows how. I know the shakes be the taste of yesterday’s blood lingering on my tongue: How intimate be the space between casket and cadaver and me? I know the shakes be an open wound, be a counterweight to strength, be me becoming my worst fears- -That in the investigation room, we all die cyclical. I close my eyes and see black girl cry. I watch her mother hush her and a fist lodges itself in the small of her back. This will become her most painful lesson: To know herself a fortress is to know herself a martyr… It is to grieve as ghost or, to disappear, without making a sound. Last summer, my mother leans into the camera on our monthly video call and tells me about her first time. I weep at how closely her story resembles mine and it becomes our last honest conversation. We still do not talk about it, this trauma that has scarred. This hollow, common grief. How our scratched bodies haunt all of us in their tatters. How we’ve begun to misremember it. This time, I give myself permission to purge that body tattooed beneath my skin. Let my skin do it’s thing. Let my skin undergo the process of shedding. Let my bones weep the ink. With all the generations watching. Dear mentor, dear mother, dear mom-mom before her: I️ pull your traumas from the back of my throat and no longer call them (claim them) My Own. May I️ still have your love in all my soft and vulnerable? May I️ still call this moment my strength? May you scrub, scratch, squeeze this pain from my roots? May this pain trickle down the back of my neck like water? May this pain be water? May my strength be a whisper, if only to myself? Say “yes, I️ lived to tell the truth about what happened here.” 26