Living To Tell The Unspoken: The Abuse Hidden In Our Home's Roots


I speak fast
Because you'll stop listening soon and
Your hands will scream.
With that said,
These are my last words:

Soon, my Spanish tramples upon itself
My tongue twisted into knots
That can't be untangled.
The words stuck within the gap of my two front teeth.

I cover my head and duck,
Ready for impact.

I repeat:
"Please make it stop"
Over and over again,
Like it were a prayer casting me to where mami rests
On the other side of the ocean

I shut my eyes so tightly that
Somewhere in that darkness
I'm able to find tiny flickers of light.

Is what my family would call papi

But here's the punchline:
They've never felt the impact of his brute strength
Strike them across the face.
I was out of line.

My nose swelled up
The same one that mami would pinch repeatedly
Through out her novelas
Hoping to make it straighter
Hoping to make it smaller
Hoping, essentially,
To shrink me.
The same one that I would suffocate with laundry pins
And pinchos
For hours on end
Hoping that someday
It will be thin, pretty, and white
Just like hers.

We'd like to believe that violence
Where I mutilate myself with bobby pins, papi with his words
Cannot permeate our homes.
But our roots are stained in it,
Self-hatred sprouting like a fruit
Where it will never rot too far from its tree.

I speak fast because
Before I can plunge my head into my arms and duck for cover once more,
I still manage to launch a few stones.

Perhaps your nightmares are plagued by the aftermath of these storms:
Me hyperventilating
Gasping not for air but for sweet silence
Trembling because I had nowhere to run but between tightly shut eyes.

Like flashes of lightning, memories striking back one after the other
You whisper to yourself: "please make it stop"
Over and over again.

Your guilt avenges me,
But I still love you.

To the abuse apologists -- you know who you are
Attributed his violence
To my rise
Riddled my trauma with gas-lighting justifications
"On a scale of 1 to 10, is it really even pain?"
Y'all can go fuck yourselves.

My glory is all mine.