Broken Line with Subtitles
after Danez Smith
I had a sister.
Childbirth broke my mother’s back
I forgot to pray for my sister.
and dammed the river of my sister’s mind
I beat my father away from them both.
and left me fatherless as a field
I had a father.
and bruising myself against the walls of night—
I scraped my hands on my rose-papered wall.
the baby who cried the dark hours—I reached through the walls and gathered her
I walked away.
so we two, my roses, the bed the parents bought me
I cut the stems of roses and give them to water.
made a forest too dense for parents to enter,
I cut my tongue, wrapped the baby in mosses, left her.
then I walked out alone, stepping branch to branch until I came to ocean.
Late in My Sleep
I am not afraid to sleep but
I am afraid to talk with you
I will go to bed and
I will talk to myself
I will dream in all languages
all at once
but only three will talk to me
penned as a palimpsest
I will sleep incomplete
and while I am alive as I sleep
I will forget what I think to be a moment
described in detail
a constant masquerade will
separate imagination from rationale
and you will be alone
when I begin to talk to you
and the moments will be
recursive and your eyes will close
and here there will be no more
languages and no more dreams.