My parents used to hit me as a child--
my biggest scar that's left no tangible mark.
Everyday when I put on my shoes I see the scar on my ankle--
two surgeries to fix a bone that would never heal.
Sometimes I wonder if I can't walk because of the scar that I see or the scar that I don't.
When I was eleven I spent three days crawling on the floor with a broken ankle, unaware that there was a problem.
When you're used to getting hit, you have a high threshold for pain.
I stand at four feet eleven inches, small.
Usually people don't notice because of my big personality but,
sometimes I minimize my own surface area.
Sometimes I'm afraid to take up space.
Sometimes I show off how well I can contort my body to fit into small hiding places.
Just because I can do that, doesn't mean I ever have to again.
And now that my parents love me and buy me things,
we ignore that dark part of our history
like slavery or stealing land from indigenous people--
conversations that never produce satisfying remedies,
but tragedies that shaped generations of people.
A consciousness you can't slip out of,
a hereditary mentality.
God made the Jews wander in the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt,
so that all those who had been slaves could die out.
And a nation could be formed from free people,
unencumbered by old masters.
Now that my parents love me,
I take my kisses with fists.
I need some bite with my bark,
I need a portal to that dark place.
I won't post these memories on the doorposts of my home.
I won't remind myself when I wake up and when I go to sleep.
And that's why I don't tell my friends to cut their nails.
That's why I come back to you.
Sometimes I think I'm prettiest poring over a first-aid kit.
I'm a master of attending to all of my own wounds:
purplish, pus-filled, bleeding, oozing,
scab, scar, dark, unidentifiable.
If my body is a temple,
then why is it visited by so many infidels?
Where did all of this dirt come from?
I'm going to Babylon now,
where I plan on staying until the redemption.
The wi-fi will be unreliable,
but I won't need it to find a connection.