my shoulders wear like a stranger’s knot across my back sinews my shoulders at their worst I tear apart at the news my eyes torrent my heart mourns in all its places no miracle no prayers answered I river I storm I white-water-rapid-roar from dusk to morning until I’m gone I’m silent I’m numb if only I could ravage drown to my destruction go back to the day before conception before my birth my body never my body never so many nights falling falling through falling down stairs down flights down stories after so much falling how to rise for him
Hecha en México, Norma Liliana Valdez made her way to California in her mother’s pregnant belly. She is an alumna of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, the Writing Program at UC Berkeley Extension, and was a 2014 Hedgebrook writer-in-residence. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and a CantoMundo fellow, her work appears in The Rumpus, Huizache, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and the anthology Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, among others. Her chapbook, Preparing the Body, is forthcoming in fall 2019 from YesYes Books. For the narrative behind this poem, check out her essay, “Inheritance”, in The Rumpus.
Raising Mothers is a free online literary magazine for femmes and NBPOC parents of color. We center the work of the marginalized in our effort to normalize our stories and existence on the web, and in life.