You Wanna Talk?

Jennifer Patino
Jul 3, 2020 · 2 min read
Photo by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash

Audio Poem

I’m petrified into silence,
mute disbelief, my grief
holds my tongue, my words
buried inside me

You wanna talk oppression? It’s
almost an obsession, how you
feel you have to prove you suffer
more than the weak

You wanna talk fear? When I
wake, feeling like I was born
for the slab and may arrive early
because you “can’t breathe” through a mask?

I can list many, my dear, who literally
could not breathe, while being murdered by
police brutality, who
could not breathe in gas chambers,
who are no longer breathing,
brothers, mothers, significant others

You wanna talk sin, or attacks on religion?
My people could practice again in 1978, remember
it was taken away? No, you don’t
You can’t

I can’t speak for all, only me,
a voice from your sacrificial altar,
a daughter being led to slaughter
for your economy

for your frogskins, your chameleon colored money
You wanna talk hardship?
You can’t work on a ventilator
Your bank doesn’t matter
when you’re deceased

I watch infections increase, and
I cry for every family I watch
injustice happening in the streets,
and I contemplate destiny

I think of all these martyrs, I try
and remember, their names, their faces
I want them to be
more than just a hashtagged tragedy
I want, no, I need
to remember

You wanna talk flags?
I wave a white one too
It says “I surrender”

A Cornered Gurl

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