Slung up onto the instrument. All those years
you thought it was “wavy.” Wet whorl
of Caribbean and tongue of crazed sunlight.
Green sigh of New England fingering through.
A waltz of Romania, hilltop Slovak breeze
praise-songs of your people twisting and twisting.
All those years you thought it deserved to be
pressed against the hot blade. Motion is scratched
through your crowded wind map. Chime of light,
leg of insect, cutting and cutting. Time capsule
of mother. Nail clipping of grandmother.
Her hands wrung up on the machine
her lungs telling the story of war.
Breath belaboring breath becomes a bead
of transmission, from her mouth you are bloomed
and from her spittle your hair. Passport of: chopped.
Passport of: grieving. Reverb of blowdry. Echo and echo
of having been child. The 90’s pour through. The feathers
don’t stick. All those years you thought thickness
was its own language foreboding. All those years
you pinned blonde girls to the altar, drenching in itch.
The sound of a comb being scratched against longing.
Wild discoveries, spirals and zephyrs. The grid falls away.
The labyrinth announces her reign. Passport of: dignity.
Passport of: strange. And twinkling against
summer light. Razors past twenty. Some forests within you
grow deeper while others fall ashen. Suddenly scalp
is a belonging. Passport of: see me. Passport of: Queer.
The sound of a butter knife gliding through salt crystals.
Hands against crown become palm-prints of loving.
Friendship a language spoken by scissors. Passport of: fur.
Passport of: mammal. Oil aquifers slicking and slicking
with beauty. Rain is accomplice. Ocean becomes angel.
Your dead start referring to you with the nickname
of longneck, the only place you are tall, the wind
of the shore of the sea slapping against you
bare skinned on the bridge between thinking
and knowing, your mane peeking over the cliff
of your forehead, getting alive
getting and getting alive.
Mónica Gomery is a rabbi and poet, raised by her Venezuelan Jewish family
in Boston and Caracas, and now living on Lenni Lenape land in Philadelphia.
Her work explores queerness, diaspora, ancestry, theology, and cultivating
courageous hearts. She is the author of Here is the Night and the Night on
the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018), and the chapbook Of Darkness and
Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). She is the winner of the 2020 Minola
Review Poetry Contest, and has been a nominee for Pushcart Prizes and Best
of the Net. Her poetry can be found most recently in Frontier, Foglifter,
Ninth Letter, Interim, Southern Indiana Review, and as a Poetry Foundation
Poem of The Day. Read more at www.monicagomerywriting.com.