Hyphens and Other Bridges


 
 
The smell of rain forever lives
in my memory, triggering home-
 
sickness through an endless river
of aqueous nostalgia.
 
In the shower, I mask the scent
of rain and wash away the muddy
 
trail of tears from my face.
I struggle to grasp my mother’s
 
tongue, hanged over my shoulder
as I wash my back. My trunk
 
extends far beyond my reach
and the sun-dried silt never leaves
 
my skin. I call to my mother, but
she does not hear and she struggles
 
to read my lips. Every word
that I mouth looks like the Congo
 
and my accent sounds like the Nile.
There’s an ocean between
 
our bodies and not a hyphen
long enough to unite us. On each
 
strand of that ocean, lies my name
and I live in between.
 
 
 

Dāshaun Washington is a Massachusetts native/Dallas resident. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Bluestem, Mistake House, Soliloquies Anthology and more. He currently attends the University of Texas at Dallas. You can follow Dāshaun on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @ DashaunDub.