OCTOBER FEATURE POET: MARY SILWANCE

 

THE DISAPPEARED

term to describe
people erased
for existing
against the sanctioned grain--

the disappeared

gone
not like the rapture
not from natural causes diseases accidents age
but deleted

the disappeared

aborted
long after birth
tossed into
the garbage bin
behind history books

the disappeared

expunged--
blue contacts over brown seeing
flat iron over kinky locks
Levis over galabeya
Irish Spring over cumin
the letters of your name
syllables of self
rearranged for
strangers in a strange land

the disappeared


REMEMBERING

to re
member

do I go back to the beginning
and start over
like a song or special handshake
relying on the first note
first gesture to unravel the whole
or can I remember
right where I am

place my finger
in the middle of a word
sentence page book
in the middle of a library
endless with middles
and recall how it started and why

to re
member

as in
put back together
like humpty dumpty
only it’s not a child’s rhyme
it’s my line


as in
to re claim
re pair
re turn
not to Humpty-Dumpty’s wall
measured and martyred
but to myself

to re member
how it started and why

(I’m even
writing this poem)

to remember
I need the quiet dark of upturned soil
my shovel’s blade, my pen’s ink, cutting
through the crusty now
for the fertile backstory
of what’s to come


WHAT WILL BE


November has already made husks of
what once was

I work fast
against nearing dusk
the sky charcoal streaked

releasing tomato plants
vines collapse
withered fruit, now tombs
for cutworm, roll away

tired soil soon tucked under
sheets of russet leaves
my beds readied
for hibernation

I pause
cheek on rake
wood worn smooth
and want
my own gestation

deep silence
to swaddle me
stretch womb wide
a season of my own
making from what once
was cells inchoate coalesce
in increments of soil
gathering already
to ripen into
what will
be


THEN


Back when you were Padilla
with an L
not Padilla with an Y lilt
and Revlon Realistic
my constant smell
I avoided you like we was
Wonder Twins.

Our browness would
activate
in the form of:

otherness.

So I straightened my hair
and you insisted on L and we
weren’t friends. We
ended up brown still

Wonder
Twins after all.


WHITE OUT

I have spent my life

(un)
hearing
language

re:
arranging
syntax

shifting
ca dence

editing be
fore speak
ing

deleting
before expressing

I have
chewed
off

my tongue.


MARY SILWANCE: Originally from Egypt, Mary lives in Kansas City. An environmental activist and speaker, poet and mother, she has served as poetry co-editor for Kansas City Voices and is a member of the Kansas City Writers Group. Her work appears in Konza Journal, Descansos, Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity, Sequestrum, Well Versed and Rock Springs Review and on her blog. Her poems have won first place in Well Versed and Rock Springs Review. She is active in the Kansas City open mic scene. Mary is cofounder of ONE LESS PIPELINE focused on environmental justice.

 More from Mary: BLOG | FACEBOOK

 
 
TEMPLATE - WEEKLY POETRY OCT 1.jpg

MARY SILWANCE IN CONVERSATION

The natural world has a purpose unto itself and isn’t here for our benefit. When we talk about ecosystems, we can identify symbiotic mutual benefits beings within ecosystems provide each other and the benefits they provide us, but we don’t scrutinize humans in the same way.

READ FULL CONVERSATION