Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Emigrant Notes on Possession

Emigrant Notes on Possession
Formatting for image content: Photograph via Flickr by Sanctu

written after lighting my “Resident Alien” card on fire

1.  Two days after turning 8 years old, the papers were signed and she left her name. When she left her name, she left her country.

2.  For an emigrant a desire line is a kind of violence that masks loneliness. How the body appears whole but is secretly – suspended – mid flight – a hand that stops a plucked string from making sound.

3.  Sometimes the only choice is to flee or to merge. To flee is to dissociate. To merge is a kind of possession.

4.  For example, as an adult, she traveled the Silk Road from Rome to Istanbul. Gave away her fingers and toes to lovers until she had none.

5.  Once she found her mother’s handwritten signature and right thumbmark forgotten in the back of a closet. Immediately she bought a black inkpad. Made marks all over the paper. How there might be similarities in the looped lines. How shadows make the light tangible.

6.  Identity is a Freudian slip. She says, “hold me.” He says, “what are you hungry for.”

7.  She puts her thumb on top of her mother’s thumbmark. On an inhale. Her body slips through time and into hers. All at once she understands how orphan children are never born. How they – simply – appear.

8.  She stares at him. The way she stares at people when she can’t understand what they’re saying and tries to fill in the gaps instead of asking them to repeat themselves.

9.  Could we converse instead in color and brushstrokes? For example, mix burnt Siena and white. Take a palette knife. Make dark marks that dent the blank canvas.

10.  Yesterday, she made a tea her mother used to make. Put it in a pint-sized mason jar. Put it on her tongue. To drink. Instead. She drank a memory.

11.  It tasted of Sulawesi sea salt and a bloody handprint. Smeared across white washed walls. A crimson line on cobblestone dragged out the back gate of the courtyard. Afterwards, she threw the mason jar in the alleyway. It stopped – mid flight – it did not shatter. It did not sound.