to the ghosts at sea, give her back | Noemi Ixchel Martinez

Original illustration for Raising Mothers by Alexandra Beguez

From the collection “to the ghosts at sea, giver her back”

I’ve been trying to write myself out/
write myself out of my exploding chest/of that hospital room/I’ve been trying to write myself out of that/chest where I’m shakingshaking/wakeupwakeupwakethe fuckup/I’m falling deep/ that cave/ that chest /that hole/ breathingnotbreathing/
the machines tick tock tick tick tick tock/
goes by /I’m still there

To the ghosts at sea/ give her back/ to the witches that are guiding her/ bring her back / she’s still mine / to the oceans that took her / home is here

To the doctor who asked if we had guns in the house
we are the other/ in america/ in the other america /
watching sidelines/ brown faces/ glossies cover us in gauze and quote/ snap we are in
the news coverage / go on, show me figurines of spacecrafts on a screen/ planets blooming stars of her brain / no, no guns, no, no silent alarms / no

You might ask urself why I wrote u into this poem
Why I dreamed u up why why why
But I wrote part of that DNA and that DNA
belongs to this earth and this dirt and this time and this storyline and this now

And I never did cry
And I need did cry
And I never did cry

I kept it all in
I kept it all in I kept it all in, I kept it all in,
It’s all there it’s all there
It’s all fucking there

Didn’t want you to die
Had to go away
Had to go away
Had to go away
And now I’m still there
Still fucking there
Still fucking there

If you are floating / up there / there is a bonfire you haven’t seen / if you see yourself in this fractured world / I’m holding you / and there is a world you haven’t seen/ and it is here

I have never taken care of a tree / I have never needed to take care of a ghost

/ I have never needed to take care of a ghost/
don’t make me

They say this world / belongs to the children / so you see / you have to live

And I wanted to learn how to play the violin / I wanted to play any instrument for you / I just wanted you to look at me again / and I wanted you to play in the dirt again / and I wanted those science experiments gone wrong again/ I just wanted you to breathe again

Winter / it’ll soon be hurricane season / I’m reading a ghost story to you / 300 levels of sea / storm adventures to discover/ the kind of stories you love / I’ll hide the ghosts in pockets and tell the witches to be nice / I’ll tell them to go see you and invite you for an adventure or two / but please deliver you back soon / so we can sing that lost at sea song and prepare for the long rains

I won’t let you sleep/ mija/ I didn’t last, in your dream/ but you still sleep sleep
I’ll be here / every year they’ll know you / your name always here/ I know you, I named you / Revolutions around the earth/ I’ll be here, mija/ I am holding you in sleep/ And before I go/ please this won’t end/ I’ll be here/ on this end


Noemi Ixchel Martinez is a queer femme crip poet-curanderx writer, historian and cultural worker living in the militarized borderlands of the Rio Grande Valley. She’s been involved in DIY zine culture and edu.punk since the 90s and still talks and teaches zines to willing participants. Some of her art, poem, essays and creative pieces have been featured in Rigorous Mag, Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People, Rest for Resistance, B*tch, The Deaf Poets Society, Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and Stirring: A Literary Collection.

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