Comparison Screeches are launched from the mouth of an unpreferred daughter. Her own son is climbing, tumbling, rolling onto the prayer rug "AGH! STOP!" she yells. She's trying, struggling, in her prayers but her praying is repetition. Repetition of pitches hit, vibrating in the air for three decades generational cries, passing on. Relatives silently reacted: lips bitten, eyes rolled, heads shaken "Children are to be loved," my aunt commanded from atop her motherly mountain, and the screaming mother is judged. "You should know that, since you're going to start having your own," with her jewel eyes fixated on my face, my breasts, then my belly. Well-meant words, softly aimed, but it doesn’t matter. Each letter of her words scrapes harshly against my soul's skin. I, too, felt like crying out. Stop! September 2020: Its Conquering
In September of 2020, my body softened and rounded all its corners without asking me first. Control was out of order in its own order: retching mornings met tears of shame in the afternoons-- the evenings ended the routine with frozen numbness and a rushing heart. My sleep was a delusion. There was no rest. I felt that I would disappear as It would grow, and my conscious so certainly knew in its heightened, vigilant imagination that the It would tragically pull my insides out of me soon like a magician's string of sickening handkerchiefs. I was a sleeve on someone else's arm. It inherited my genetically-obtained force; twin horns of a ram dislodged all of my attempts at protection. I had let pain rip in and out of me at the doctor’s office for nothing. Edibles for the bearing of blackening douleur might as well have been exotic spring water poured down a sink. 99.9% efficacy, but I was 0.01% lucky. The clock's hand had a diamond-edged dagger in it, slashing with each slap as it moved across the face. In tiny increments, pieces of my very self were marbles swirling, draining, rolling down, sucked down into a circle like some kind of joke. I made my choice to choose myself over It. A series of rods, one larger than the next. A plastic elephant's trunk would inhale It out with suction I’d never feel and It would die before the bagging. It was in one of the papers I signed. I would wake in a white light. I stood at the edge of a ravine when it was over. I looked down, I saw new messages in my inbox. New documents. The IUD was dislodged, hanging at the cervix. That I knew. And then came the harrowing, lung-pricking description of--It. It had: ten fingers, developed organs. I have: a concrete body, each cell alive and dying in their natural processes. The dagger, the elephant's trumpet, the drain, not one could deny. I did it. All were witness. The devilish It had: ten fingers, developed organs? Don’t forget: So have I.
Bio: "Khadeja Ali is a poet and visual artist from Massachusetts who uses her art to explore themes of the heart and the mind. She has a degree in Art History as well as a Master's in Intercultural Relations--both of which inform her life experience and her art. Khadeja is a native of Mauritius with ancestry from Eastern Europe. You can find her on twitter as @khadejalidraw."