fruit of the earth

Years after I choked on the rubbery sex flesh

of my mother, my father, so many strange

and familial others, after the robed hands

pushed char between my horrified

teeth clenched like a portcullis, after my throat

repeatedly opened for dirty money and gagged

and tore, years since my small soul sighed

and withered like a frost-hit tree, implacably

retreating its life sap down my branches

into my cringing centre, a little further

with each heaving year, years since

my body retreated too, the flesh sliding off

the bones, my form willowing with grief,

scooping into a cave at the abdomen where

the loss was dying-star hot, a brief daughter

having blazed through, gasp, and then

silence and murder and ash, my mouth

clenched against nutrients, strangling the

cells slowly, mindlessly, aiming for death

without will, direction having been

tortured out of me thousands of days and

heavy bodies ago; years since then

after an unexpected friend helped change everything

one bruised wall-flung Monday night, yes

everything, as if she threw a switch on the

horror train track of my life and it opened

to bearings I'd thought closed to me, after

I travelled hours away to my first

own four walls (sometimes I lay in bed there,

door locked, my fingers caressing the

yellow-painted brick of those walls; they felt

like love, my head quietly safe, forgiven

whatever demons my father had tried to beat

out of it), after my soul started creeping out

slowly, at first only when no one saw,

cautiously allowing me a body, a secret

package of crackers or a banana, stretching into

my fingertips and my lips pressed against

another girl's, slowly budding in my

mouth like hidden curled leaves that had

slept through winter, now new-green and sticky,

growing once again the house the tree of

taste, because it was finally safe, my stomach

filling its cave, gently unflattening from

a grief-pitted rock shard; years later, today, I eat

a quart of berries. ย Don't be surprised

when I tell you that, as the taste bursts

sharp and sweet and new-green

on my tongue, I am astonished, soul-struck,

that each time I taste goodness, my face lifts,

eyes closed, that when I say the blessing

(...boreyt p'ri ha'adamah) each time I cry.

image

KAMILA RINA is a disabled neurodivergent immigrant bisexual genderfluid poet, sexuality & disability educator, and a survivor of torture and long-term sexual violence. Ze likes trees, books, chocolate, and people and things that smell good, and enjoys talking about being present in one's body and fomenting the revolution. They have previously been published in Room magazine, Breath & Shadow, Sinister Wisdom, and We Have Come Far. For more information visit kamilarina.com.