October 1, 2021
Oct 1, 2021
Your eyes narrow on me. You want me hollow—skin attached only to a scaffold where lungs, liver, thyroid, membranes hide from your look of, You can’t possibly know a man’s fist? I tell my cheeks, Be stable. I tell my heart, Suture close. Wounds not allowable here. & the stale space between our breath elongates across the physical gap between us. I hold very still & think of Evelyn. Grandma Evelyn, who put cold washcloths to my forehead when the light sensitivity hit. She’d hold my chest down with her hand, Hold still, Felicia. Only still and the ache knows to leave. Her remedy never fully cured me, yet I learned how exhale transforms a severing mind & here under florescent lights my knees go limp, my torso settles into my abdomen & my eyes meet yours & our tongues silent. All the fists I’ve known: Fist of my brother with the kitchen knife. My hair braided in fists & the sound of my forehead on concrete. Fists at my jaws. Fists at my sternum. Fists at my back, my skull, my ribs, my pelvis, inside my vagina without consent. Fists with my wrists curled inside them, broken off & somehow still attached to my body. Fists pointed at me before strike, strike, strike. My fists unable when my body ripens in the first morning light. My fingers unable now, to contract at your look—my therapist says I withhold expressions of anger. Fists of Jose Francisco Senior purpling my mother’s flesh; the reasons my brother legally changed his name. Inside a cranium tolls: Can we map the genetic passing of father’s fist to daughter’s fist? Fists tear my sweater’s shoulder before heave of my six-year-old frame into the snowbank. The same knuckles turn the steering wheel into a Dairy Queen’s parking lot to buy me ice cream before I learned Chirophobia means the ‘fear of hands’ & I want Fūstphobia from Old German to mean ‘fear the five in huddle’ & yet I dislike my therapist. A history of fists charts—a strange cartography of what my body holds. Now, you see in my retinas your own broken questions, a dereliction of form & we release without words.
While we have you...
...we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
October 01, 2021