what was lost to get me here

she who has my blood , 2


I heard the first scream when Wonda died, I was not inside mami yet, but I still heard it. abuela never told me if she had a proper burial, instead I think she dressed in all black and let her go into the Caribbean sea.

I heard the second scream after my mami’s first attempt to leave papi. I was inside her belly stirring. mami and I left Puerto Rico for a one bedroom in Ysleta, the wallpaper had yellow daises. we laid on the daybed with our arms and legs pointing to the ceiling, waiting for the wounds to dry. mami’s hips swelled as she painted dark shadows of dust around her arms & ankles.

I heard the third scream after papi threw the last punch he ever would. I felt the thud rupturing the tissue walls holding me against the violence. I spun around in circles, watching the blood separate from the rest of my body.

I heard the last scream after mami came home to that one bedroom in Ysleta without a baby. by that time the wallpaper had been stripped to wood.

years later, I would drag myself through the streets looking for a voice with a wound in it, searching for something sacred to sooth my ears against the sound of the screaming.