Poetry by Sarah Lubala

A List Of Things I Do Not Tell My Mother

a. i like to think of the black men in those shaving commercials. foam glistening down
their chins. throats you could practice hunger on.

b. i don’t pray the way the nuns taught us. i left my rosary in uncle paulin’s car on that
trip to kananga 3 years ago. i’ve only just remembered.

c. there is skin more tender than daylight just behind the ear. i plant two kisses on the
indian girl i met on tinder. her laughter is clean water.

d. love is not always the thick mouth of thunder. sometimes it is living bread
a slow white dream rising in the light.

e. my affliction is not quite insomnia. i am only afraid to fall asleep.
always the same dream. always the dimly lit corridor.
always the smell of fresh snow. always the salt on my lip.
always the hand in my shirt. always begging
begging.

f. most days i hate to be touched. every hand is my father’s.
you at the bottom of every staircase.
a halo of blood around your neck.

g. i want to write it. i never want to think of it again.
the rabid years of girlhood. the chipping yellow paint. the house that held its breath.

h. i think now i am a woman because i am terrified of my own body
and what it makes men do.

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