by Mahta Riazi

I am not vengeful, only scared.
How unprepared I was to leave an ocean of a family in the bitter dark.
I chase myself out of each open-armed embrace and write myself to another arrow’s journey, make it straight
to my own heart.
May my God be so forgiving.
May He fill me until I finally understand why Rumi wrote words like light’s own tepid passage, made time
itself an un-blooming.
I gap the distance more each time I pour myself into a new descendance.
Something unpolished spilling out of my mouth when I try to mountain an apology.
Make it pile of ashen dust, but know I was buried under there somewhere,
trying to speak my resistance into a truth my children may someday learn to swallow.

I, too, wish to be an ancestor,
silent and sweet,

This may not be the first night that I slumber into a past that isn’t quite mine, though not for lack of trying.
My breath unclenches itself from the windowsill.
No rearview mirror to capture my mother’s shrinking smile, her wave blurring until gone.
I have not stopped falling into endings since the day I was born.
Every river, a departed drowning.
Every crack in my grandfather’s forgotten smile, a black hole to fade into.
Soon, our memories stopped recognizing us in the sheeted mirror of a broken lake’s surface.
I think this is what happens when you are told to make home of a stolen land.
No language to know these waters, but enough salt at the back of your throat to gurgle an entire ocean into
the bathroom sink while the moon watches.
I mounted a plane and it flung me into an abandonment of my own haunting.
Cobwebs around my throat every time I shudder into a phone call that strangles me with guilt.
I hear my mother close the tap on the other end of line.
Her arm leaning on a fabricated home, every rib below her chest expanding,
she asks me if I still remember to name the dead in my prayers.

Mahta Riazi (she/her) is an Iranian/Canadian poet, community worker and educator currently based in Tio’tia:ke (Montréal) on the unceded territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka. She is passionate about friendship, tea, and longboarding. Her writing weaves and dances around themes of family, home, and loss. Her poetry appears in inQluded magazine, Voicemail Poems, Headlight Anthology, Brickplight, and Yolk literary magazine.