Playing Sarah

When I was eight,
my cousins would make me play Sarah
so they could Lavinia me into rags
in our gumamela, dirt, and plastic kitchens.
But that didn’t matter because
I wouldn’t play Sarah with them again.

When I was sixteen,
my classmates all handed me their
black cards
at the senior class retreat because I was so “mysterious”
But that didn’t matter because
they had an after-party
and I went home.

When I was eighteen,
I lost my sight, holding the hands of a boy
I could see him
but I could hear everyone.
None of that mattered
because I pushed him away
and never saw him again.

When I was twenty-six,
I lost my voice at work, stupidly shouting,
“I have a solution!” “I fucking matter!”
But none of that mattered
because they had drinks after work
and I went home.

When I was thirty,
I lost my face
because I am cocky, vain, boring, and weird.
I serve up sour wine
because I wouldn’t
I couldn’t
play Sarah ever again.

But none of that matters
because through this thicket of spines,
the thickest of walls,
the spiciest of tongues,
the sharpest of eyerolls,
There were the aunts who aunt-kissed my face over and over
because they haven’t seen me in ages “How did you get so big, hija?”
There was the friend who would stay on the phone on a school night
just to listen.
There was the prof who would ask me about my work schedule,
“Make sure to get some sleep, hija.”
There was the boss who gave me time off
so I could take the board exams “Go get the top notch, hija.”
There is the man who would learn how to make soup
because my throat hurt.
There is the friend who would ride an hour more
just to have tea with me.

And for them, I would gladly play
a Sarah,
a Becky,
or even an Eowyn.


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