The Cycle Must Be Broken

i am from a long line of oppressors
who built this country
with bricks and glass
carved (but not by themselves)
from the mountains and the seasides
of a stolen land

i am from a suffocating fear of god
not from fire and brimstone
but from the quiet and righteous disdain
of “we’re better than you are”

i am from a memory
that i folded myself into
and a labyrinth
that i lost myself within
and an echo of a scream
that became a whisper

i am from stale coffee and mildew
and green plaid on a sofa
and the hearty braggadocio
of a man mountain
who dominated every room he inhabited
even while he erased his own presence

i am from the madness of a mother
too small, too bitter,
too angry at her place
in the world
but not able to break free
and so she simply… broke

and these people took where i’m from
and packed it into a trailer
and left it somewhere that was nowhere
on the al-can highway

these are my roots:
tangled in the toxic soil of my childhood
but these are not my flowers:
those, i have grown myself

9/20-27/21

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