On Strength

Last night, my husband was angry. He came home angry and he yelled and screamed until our children were frightened and ran to their rooms. But I didn’t mind the sounds. I don’t.

I know that men are supposed to be made of some tougher material than we are, but my husband has always felt fragile to me, constantly on the verge of shattering. Somehow this makes me strong. I stand and watch. I’m a body to lay on when he collapses. And I don’t mind it. Sometimes I like it.

But today, when I came home, I was angry. I built White Houses out of mashed potatoes and then I smashed them into nothing. I went to my room to scream so the children wouldn’t hear. And when my husband came home, smelling a little of liquor and a lot of flames, I told the children to eat and I followed him upstairs.

“What did you do?” I whispered.


“You smell like an arsonist.” Radio silence.

I am angry too, I wanted to tell him.

I know that men are supposed to be made of some tougher material than we are, but my husband’s weakness has always made me feel strong. So when I sat on the edge of our bed, begging for details of a crime he wouldn’t reveal, I watched pigeons coo on the rooftop out of our bedroom window. I tried not to scream.



I have not been able to post anything here for a while. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger and I’ve tried to play it cute and not share it. But fuck it, I’m angry. Here’s one of the things I’ve written:



Tell me: what does forgiveness taste like?

Does it taste like ice cream, pistachio flavor?

Is it salty on the way down your throat?

Does it taste like blood, bled from your lips?

I do not know forgiveness.


I have watched brown skin, my own, melt into pavements, into grass

I have screamed out in fury, wrecked my own home to release my anger

Who will call the hounds out?

The fields are burning. The fields are burning. I am only listening to God’s word.


there are contradictions painted into the fabric of your flag.

How are we morally inept and yet you expect us to dispense our forgiveness

Fox news says we have forgotten MLK, what if we are remembering Brother X instead?

We have been taught in your schools to pledge our sanities over,

to promise our bodies to her

To chase after the noble Martin.

Keep us in line, we’re dangerous.


My dreams are dripping red.

I see disfigurement of bodies in your eyes.

I see swinging bodies in your branches, odes to your family tree

No one cares if you were there,

somehow you all live blaming only your ancestry

But you stand on our backs.

You dig in your heels.

You tells us we’re invisible like you mean it as a compliment.


Just because we have been quiet does not mean we are handing out forgiveness

We have been waiting for a final decision.

We have been counting our bodies, weighing our options.

It is not a threat. It is karma.

Every one must feel the burn when it comes for them.

We are nearing a conclusion.


What will you do when we give up on your flag?

How disloyal will you tell us we are when we burn your Liberty Lady in your streets?

We do not start these fires, we do not even fan them.

We have struggled so hard to love you,

To love you like we need it as much as you do.


What does forgiveness taste like?

Does it smell of carcasses rotting beyond the skyline of your beautiful seas?

Does it float goodwill only in one direction.

Don’t worry I will not ask you to forgive me.

I do not know forgiveness.

But I know hate.

And one can only push it deep into their stomach for so long.



I am calling upon my ancestors, sitting upon the tip of a razor blade.

My eyes are open.

My limbs are shaking, but they hold themselves still.

I have fire in my left hand.

I focus on my breathing, begging ancient mothers to straighten my back.

Here is where I live.

I have called upon Buddha before, for meditation

I have straightened my back and fell forward for Allah

I have bowed my head for Moses

But I dare not call on your God

I am calling upon my ancestors, sitting atop the tip of a razor blade.

My skin is brown.

My eyes are focused, but I am afraid.

I have fire in both hands.

I focus on their movement, begging ancient mothers to guide my arms.

Down there, I can see the waves of injustice pushing at us,

Us cocooned atop razor blades, afraid to move

But I have been seeing the strength of those who proceeded us

And I can stand atop the razor blade.

I have called upon my ancestors, standing atop the tip of this razor blade

My eyes are open.

My limbs are strong. Sturdy but tired.

I have fire shooting forth from my lungs, my hands.

Bring forth us dragons

The fight must begin again.