Home Is Never Finished
Home is an ever evolving definition in motion.
Home is never finished, never absolute.
It continues to expand and break through our modes of understanding.
I can tell you where it began/in the pause before the moment my Papi and Mami decided to
indulge in the confines of one another’s flesh/allowing their bodies/ to love what they loved.
Since then/I’ve learned home/unlearned home.
Old homes/led me to new ones.
There was the body of my mami/hands prying open the land for me to climb inside of.
There was the bellybutton of the boy with the white mama.
There was me/throwing myself at the wind and longing for vaguadas/the heavy Puerto Rican
downpours/that come for the whole month of May.
Once or twice it was Black women under the light of the moon/running hands over every surface
until we were raw and smelt of each other’s home countries.
As a child/it was inside of my grandmother’s mouth/Detroit summers/laughing into the clouds I
called home/ playing with the sun/when the streets were lined with wildflowers.
There were the love jawns and the Sula’s.
One afternoon/it became Sonia/reminding me of all the/unlived lives in my veins/it was her who
consoled me when the cancer came back/and grandma had to teach me how to hold all of our
memories/under my tongue/behind my torso.
After she was gone/I found that boy who I thought I was going to marry/he came like fresh rain
falling from the heavens. oh/then there was his scent/a mix of honey suckles/silk skin/when I
folded myself up inside him/I knew I was home.
Since 17, that scent filled up my soft/round places. Then there was the day he left/ and months
afterward I still woke up every morning/reaching for him/searching for his scent in my bed
sheets. Then there was the sound of metal/for a long time after that.
I thought I could never have a home again/without the threat of the burning/but then there was
that night when we lived in the i love yous, and let our thighs get angry/at the sound of
bangodrums/our mouths dripping of slurs and love songs.
There was the first place I ever lived in alone/with only my mind and my body.
There was the absence of light/the pulsing heartbeat.
The bathtub where/I gave birth to myself/ again and again until I knew I had no more blood to
lose/until I knew how to kiss where others had cut.
In that place/I learned/ there was me/just me/me and all my mess/skin escaping/there has always
been me. All the places and people that I have ever loved/all of those homes/I have reckoned
with. Some lost/some found.
Some remain stained in vivid memory/floating under my tongue and behind my torso/when I
need to remember where I have been/who has assembled me/who has unraveled me/who has left
specs of themselves behind/they all live in me/gathering in a flourishing way/that is mine/Every
now and then, I stop/weep/smile/scream/raise my psalms in love for how it all began/in the pause
before the moment.