Doriana Diaz

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.