speaking out loud

— lisa luxx

we learn languages from our mothers
عربي was my father tongue

I watch the ocean
one eye covered by my dad’s palm

another day passes where no brilliance
grows inside me

how embarrassing to trail river from your shoe
while walking through concrete

my throat won’t fit around my ancestors

for 28 years I was wearing the features
of a man I didn’t know
            my face a missing poster

tell me how this body felt home explode
on the edge of Damascus
while I was in bed in Yorkshire
            this half-carved monument
            is where geography stops pretending


what if there were no languages
just empty mouths and full ones
                        dancing or silence

when Leila wore her hair down it meant she was
excited to see me

sniffing is the nose asking questions

if I dream of running it means someone inside me
still believes in the future

a cliff speaks in two directions
                                    eroding & expanding

my body speaks to me in desert

to foreigners
                        it speaks pollen

counting was invented so we knew when to meet
            & when to panic
                                    I count myself in sand

rain taps secrets against earth’s skin

coffee speaks fortune in sediment, grief
does the same

no one can hear each other but they’re all still talking
I listen to them aiming mindlessly around one
another’s silhouettes        each person holding their
symbols to their chest


I bathe in a woman who has the same name my
father wanted to give me        she tastes like
everything I’m not; we both translate as light
yet we speak like worms rubbing through the
            of one another’s underearth     by mistake

my friends change their names often
                        & our mouths mutate
            it’s how we sing i’m a shape-shifting bitch
you don’t know who you lovin’

            our names reply you’re a wild eternal honey
& i got you

in the language of queer           names are deities
that walk ahead of our bodies


I elongate the vowels in your name to hold you in my mouth a moment longer   we bend Fridays until they snap & I’m pushing my rings back on   fingers covered in you after spending the night washing   myself sacred in your fountain   our bodies speak a language our minds are yet to learn   text me like you hold me impossible

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