Against showing pain and other poems




Against showing pain


There has been something heavy

in my mouth for years now,

it tastes like blood on the back of the throat

after a severe head injury.


I give up eventually and tilt my head back,

let it slide down to my stomach.


In the stomach it waits and just sits there,

until all bones dissolve, until blood

ceases to form its shapes on the ground

and stops to take a rest.


This stillness is often considered

as a late evidence of one not being guilty.


After all, being constantly injured

does no harm to others because 

we know that there is a difference

between the taste and sight of blood.


I sometimes wonder who taught me

to tilt my head back, like an animal.

For obedience is a wound, not a language.

You do not have to speak a word to be it.




There is no home like anxiety


When my first milk tooth fell out, I do not remember how old I was,

but I remember that I got scared. There is a photo of it. A face of a child,

squinting her eyes from laughter and drooling into her palms.

Holding on to her tooth, learning the slow pulses of blood. She is happy.

That night I was served liquids only, warm milk in an enamel mug,

special attention on a tray. With that in my hand, I knew,

such is shedding as a little girl can experience.


Along with my milk teeth, disappeared childhood tranquility too, as if

it would never return to my hands. I was sure that migrating birds

stole it so that they could plant it in the hearts of small animals, like me.

I knew I must fly with them before all my milk teeth fall out.

Because that would be true relief, to stay just like that.




 To thread a needle


And after a while it wrinkles and tears apart,

that rugged smile saved for my family.

Moldy, damp clothes replace my once neatly

ironed face. It was my mom who taught me

how to stich something so delicate, like face,



And after a while my sister’s mouth, shaped like

a thimble, does not save my hands from getting

wounded. For anytime I thread the needle, I start

bleeding. How stiff my father used to be,

straightforward, like a needle. He would hit

right in the thimble.


And after a while I embroider my family

with a delicate thread, so they won’t form a tie

so strong and their knots can be easily

torn apart. I can tear, neaten them however

I like and finally get rid of this sewing-kit.




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