By Hannah Treasure
every time I let the word die on my tongue
it cries out again, rearing its Phoenix head
unwilling to give up the room of its mother.
my ashy throat, weak with heritage, gives in
when I say “y’all” aloud it is only because
the word has dodged my clamped mouth
and clenched teeth, habit turning my body
into an obstacle course. crawling out alive.
I beat it back down, behind picket fences
beyond piles of cacti, beneath fresh basil,
pico de gallo. squashing down the “y’all”
in silence sharper than the heel of a boot.
how lonely the lone star must be
only admired for her distance
she who doesn’t distinguish
independence from homelessness
when was it we were talking about the stars?
the other ones, the kind that kick you
with their spurs, make you gaze obediently
and open-mouthed in submission
“if y’all only knew,”
the amount of times i’ve surrendered
my awestruck jaw to the sky above
and fallen back into the drawl