Winter 2020 - Poetry

Mónica Gomery

Visit

 

When my sister comes to visit I remind her I was born without a sister.

She talks about people we know but they all have some other name—

Wind Wheel Turning, Dark as Earth, Song on Infinite Loop

and as she speaks I recall unlived histories inside my body.

When my sister visits she’s packed into her suitcase

all the continents our family has made a home on.

She pulls them out one by one with the look of a collector on her eyes

each cumbersome body of land revealed as though a thrift store bargain

a discarded synagogue hat with a crumple in the brim.

She sits on the floor laying continents over her lap, stitching

and unstitching borders with embroidery thread

tracing trade routes with a thimble-clad thumb.

This kinship confounds me, tangles me in.

I am sistered, sister-lined.

Claimed by something, I am more and less form.

I am crowded in with a gratitude huddled in storm.

When my sister comes to visit she likes to smoke, much like my brother.

She rolls her own, dense with a flora still green and still growing

and the smoke fills the rooms of my house

and saplings crop up between bookshelves.

A swamp has begun to grow waxy grasses over the sink.

I keep trying to tell her I don’t have a sister

but she suggests that we arm wrestle and when I say

that’s not how I was raised she tilts her head to the side

and says nothing. Or she strokes my hair and says nothing.

Or she watches the mid-afternoon light creep across the room

whispering let it come down.

 

 


Mónica Gomery is a rabbi and poet, raised by her Venezuelan Jewish family in Boston and Caracas, and now living in Philadelphia. Her work explores queerness, diaspora, ancestry, theology, and cultivating courageous hearts. She is the author of Here is the Night and the Night on the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018), and the chapbook Of Darkness and Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). Her poetry has been published in various journals, including most recently Frontier, Foglifter, Rabbit Journal, and Plenitude Magazine. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist in the Cutthroat Journal Joy Harjo Poetry Contest. 


 

This project is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council

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