Because I am leaving
I slice the potatoes into fine
Slivers, yellow white like teeth
On the inside. The starchy juices
Waft upwards, seep outwards
As I sprinkle salt over the plate and
Mix with my hands. The oven
Heats our apartment, already warm
And wet from the humid winter air
Because I’ve never known winters like
These so far from home, but I have eaten
Potato chips my whole life.
It is always the emotional nourishment
That brings us closer to home as we
Scrape plates in close proximity
To those who know us, but never
As well as the history of time.
I close my eyes, breathing in the
Earthy aroma and repeat: The love in me
Connects me to the love in others.
Final line from the Spirit Junkie app.
We rely on icons with
Open arms to remind us of
Our humanity, as if we didn’t breath it
Every day. What is a family
Across borders? How can we
Thrive amongst the barriers,
The languages, the trial and error
Of wanting to belong? You have a
Right to this land, above waters,
Between the open skies and the
Center of our universe. Rooted
In self, you belong, however
You may say it. This is humanity,
this is the reality that we forget
We have the capacity to live up to
Like the heroes we could so often be.
There are documents, paperwork, stacked
Upon the desk, the kitchen table, the bedroom shelves.
I am collecting the physical trail of my existence. I
Carry it, even, in a small plastic briefcase
To protect what is known about me.
I am registered amongst the rotting filing cabinets,
Pressed between index cards of residents,
Citizens who know nothing other than
Labyrinths and mazes. The jeitinho is merely
An evolutionary adaptation, as the world spins
Towards the global south. Perspectives may be
Skewed along axes, and now I learn to
Lean towards patience.
The self-absorbed sea air
Grinds its hands across my face.
With eyes closed, this is either
Rio or Los Angeles and the bird song
Shares no secrets.
The view is always the same:
A few chirps, the highway, a foggy
Sunrise, the soft snores of
Someone, somewhere. The wind
Carries the scent of fried breakfasts,
Bakeries, the full-bodied reminder that
People are people and despite our
Inclinations to remember the worst
Of ourselves, we forget the worst
In others. I have traveled with
My insecurities. We are no closer.
The morning comes, I
Hold my tongue for the birds.
The fine hairs of my skin shimmering
In the sunlight over the blue-tinged
Veins in my hand give me pause. I feel
Warmth, the layers of skin on top of
Blood and bone, my invisible musculature
Forming my presence in the world.
My body, my frame. I breath deeply into
The tangible experience of living in
In this body, both rooted and floating
We sing songs into our cold hands
Around a bucket full of flames.
History cools against itself, as
Flares break the skies like an
SOS to our collective memory.
We whisper this land is no land,
Just echoes of taxless frontiers
Where we weep and build and crumble.