we are washed of language


“This was all recorded . . . [l]ike a Song . . .”—Tony Medina

we are not scaling we are hunters in this drape called body we have
hardened our old selves pricked peeled consumed we have been scraped
our bodies raw rough things we are new tongueless days go unrecorded the
past ground from our bones our old words are burnt leaves we are fragile
things nightfall a song not born of matter now our flesh our bone our leaf
scar tongues wait for this rebirth the beginning of renaming the end of you
I all self forked clean we have endured the end of our old days no births
recorded only water and fire no deaths mourned only bone ground to ash
flesh consumed have we given in to Leader’s sky we’ve released alms in
secret palms open waters poured fruit land bare our new hands are vile
violent things we have been reborn we are cracked names this too we have
learned flesh turns to air or metal was never ours came from a mother
father all vessels too stripped erased before here we wore songs in our hair
weathered storms with our feet knew our bodies to be pulsing rushes of
pleasure now we are washed of language our memories soon to refuse us
this word that sensation anything not given to us by Leader taken oh how
we held out our tongues to Leader so quickly so quickly the night we burned
mother alive scrubbed our teeth with her ash

Metta Sáma is the author of After “Sleeping to Dream”/After After (Nous-zot Press, 2014), Nocturne Trio and South of Here (published under her legal name, Lydia Melvin). She is assistant professor, director of creative writing, and director of the Center for Women Writers at Salem College.

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