An Event of Sighs

CONTENT NOTE

This suite makes mention of disordered eating that may be confronting or disturbing.

The Business of Dialects

the way my tongue believes in this silence scrapes blue 
for the sky to pitch with colours.  
stars brittle in rust,  
i loved my echo to one buoying near.  

i lost my taste to the pain of dialects,  
& warm my voice like faint gratitude on the lips of clime. 
a sigh brews me close to my father.  
first time to see my old man choke on his tea,  
& spill the crumbs like endnotes on a wild magazine of milk.  

our roof shrinks with the shots of rain,  
& the war lures me to sleep.  

in my dreams, i made shrapnel with the rumpled snow. 
i lay on my belly to soak the bite  
& tongue distance—the length of my father’s feet. 
i catch my breath in the middle of a shell where silence steals the echoes from me.  

i reek of sibilants, 
the tone of my father.  
softness made of rustles,  
to weave sullen deprived words.  

i chirp the sediments on my lips to know the business of dialects, 
& trade them on my skin like a lost groove.  
i am pressed to this rhythm,  
this song that shreds me to bed.  

from the note, i sustain a shrill.  
to halt is to hurt my father’s dream—this business he brewed for  years.  
i stir a distance,  
to rob me of my siblings.  

in the blank, i pride my father’s vision.  
i sting my son,  
& ditch my tongue into a boiled trap to have all the bites in  different folds.  
antivenoms shouldn’t rub us off this bliss,  
this dialect seared to our tongues like brimstones.  

our race lay close to their legs,  
& make sprinting this way.  
we are silent with our breaths, 
yet our track walk read miles. 


Anatomy of My Grief Coming to Me  First as a Hissing Thing

how not to say father does it better than a snake,  
the way he folds his tongue to kill a dialect.  
i do not make my facts boring here,  
i hold a sweetener as i knead these words  
into something long enough to keep echoing throughout my life.  

& you might want to know how i found my voice in this poem, 
what i did when words return void, as the hole in my throat. 
forgive me if i do not impress, when i say i crawled back & did 
nothing to live.  

in our block, i’m stopped as a consonant:  
a rankshift between plosive & flaps.  
i wish for living things to know me first as sound—which means  in good health,  
which means placing the worth of a sibilant before me.  

my father trains his mouth to yawning,  
the pink reptile in there is nobody’s plaything. 
liquid worship to God—we make antivenoms this way, 
bathing prayer into our loins,  
mopping his teeth for bitemarks.  

fangs that break my breath  
& pour me into rupture.  
whoever knew us knew a diphthong,  
knew the pairing of two.  

my father, deviating from the norm,  
sounding like a mood when he yawns to feed his reptile with  words.  
sometimes he milks his tongue,  
& spills the venom on the plush. 


Carrying My Father’s Silence

how warm you chew your tongue  
into disremembering the taste of a novel word. 
grief, the calm to soften your teeth,  
& sponge a weak phrase to its neat wall of pink.  

this is how you kill a mother’s worth:  
sludged wrists crushed to calories,  
lost from ceaseless count of meals by how much her darkness shortchanges you.  
your lips ramming into each other.  

you braid your head into a migraine,  
& let the style eat you.  

silence like mohawk,  
stands at ease.  
getting my attention is one chore,  
you could break your lips,
& still not get the dry sound to pulse me.  

all my fun sides staked to claims:  
that i feigned my father’s accent,  
& sighs are how he makes words look like sin.  
i am sifting into this new world,  
skipping my meals,  
becoming what i eat when i starve things of my lips.  

i now lust for days when noise grooms my stature,  tongue
amplified with the thirst for a crazy accent—this echo that should
know me. 

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