Because You Also Survived


Portraits from the series Faces and Phases by South African artist Zanele Muholi.

I kiss your chest
the dead press back
against my lips

some are yours
some are mine

their names
escape me

one raised white babies
one killed babies like us
and ours

one went under
for a routine operation
woke with linoleum flat
to her temple

there is no soft way
to discuss this

they want to wipe
the world of us
you know

and call us radicals
when we say so

we have other parts
that can bear life
our stomachs
our bile and teeth

our voice boxes
taut as a clothesline

sniffing blood

I don’t think of them
though they’ve made plans
for us
not looking for them
though they’re watching

I am focused
on the tufts of brown hair
from the place
where your ribs and arms meet

where your thighs sprint
toward each other

If they see us
I hope they are incredulous
as I am
by your softness
and bones

I hope they realize
we are older than walls
even now
outliving the carnage
of their excavating

let’s be the thing
that can’t be stolen
no matter how many times
they take it

the thing
that lives in awe
of itself

8 responses to “Because You Also Survived

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