MY MOTHER ASKS ME IF I’M GAY

you cleave away
……….where there is a wound
……….a sorry ache searches
from my skin /
……….to find mercy in this written
……….sin / i do not understand yet
my palms open
……….hungering for answers / tired
……….hands become a competition
in prayer &
……….they favor a fall from grace
……….but still seek refuge in
yours / a fist /
……….pious saints / you say the bible
……….promises to lift but this woman
my daughter
……….brings me to my knees &
……….transforms me to an altar
of lost faith—
……….my own bone sacrificed
……….for the sanctity of flesh /
bury this fault
……….in the silence of the pews they
……….name me a disciple of eve but
beneath the spine
……….even god became man once
……….& carved holiness from sin
of scripture—
……….there is no way to forgiveness
……….than to map a theology of self,
we are calling you
……….to walk the path of hell, but i
……….promise i too know heaven,
home

.

.

SAMPLE MOCK INTERVIEW

Tell Me About Yourself

Alaisha—a name my mother heard from God,
……….close to Elijah, meaning the Lord is God &
I worship myself as if I am Her
……….because if Jesus sinned & I have too,
I must be the second coming.

What is your greatest achievement?

This silly child with a broken tongue,
……….American showing through her teeth.
They think I have lost myself
……….in this grave for a mouth—
still I pluck the words from their whispers &
tuck them away in my throat.
Every huo. Every hindi.
……….Swallowed & preserved.

And your greatest failure?

That they haven’t built a language from my name yet.
Next question?

What applicable experience do you have?

Pieces of home follow me into work
where tongues of similar history
become synonymous for the other.
At times they greet me ¿cómo está?
& I respond back with kumusta?
but we know it all the same. They
mispronounce my name the way
my family back home does. I do
not correct them & in doing so,
I construct a library of
teleportation machines that can
transfer our stories from home
into the mouths of others.

Why should we hire you?

Because I know how to listen to
the sound between the sounds.
How to break the sonic barrier with a
switch of code. I was born inside
a bridge of hyphens, where the
noise of silent letters mixed with
the hum of longing.

Alaisha Verdeflor is a queer poet born in Queens, raised in Jersey, with roots in the Philippines. Other titles include: health education specialist, green-thumb wannabe, and breakfast enthusiast. You can find her on Twitter @alaishafv