Occluded Mother’s Internal Q & A

It is not his fault   It’s in God’s hands

He is God’s hands
He is of the times
He did his best
He knows who has worked hardest. It is him
He has sacrificed for Greater Good
therefore sacrifices others
His wisdom, message is different now

[but the echo]

No, it is different

It is not my fault    I was in his hands

trusted them as guidance
was turned bloody by them
was tired from being opened
did not understand the project
had little power, so leveraged
It was not my business; was private
as ownership makes all things private
I have done my best; give me peace

Can it be your fault

(this would give me peace)

If it is your fault         he and I can be human

 can build life anew without
these          complications

share power equally
over, and righteous

I have meditated on this with my palepure heart

Our hands not at fault

Your body


Monologue of Mute Daughter

You have given me your name
a tool I use by simply moving

You have taken my body, stripped skin and organs, earlier than early
It is a the
It is an it
has been weaponized against

Even after reprinting Your words, from Your own hand
I fear I am unbalanced, full of imagining, weak, as we fear
in relationships that kill us, partner claiming
your fault you’re made of flesh
which is to say for tearing

After a life of long watching
I wish to name myself

as rage. All these our bodies defaced
As rage. That I extended your reach.


Oyez Oyez Oyez of the Town Crier

One eye: looking at my hands

my fathers’-mothers’ hands, their work here all the way back
their stories of what and why not as truth but human artifact
look until I know them backward forward backward forward

First eye clearer, could see patterns and interrupt story; derail
First eye clearer, could see not sheep but wolf

cast off my claw and callback

With the second eye
sponge-watching, mum-mouthed and watching
the hands, acts, of the nation’s protagonists

White jaw culpable for terror and its corrosions
for the technology of race and its wielding

but the central story
by and of Black and brown people, Indigenous people
their resistances, survivals, their tending each other, their making worlds
We must attempt repair by hearing, doing
what they demand, have been demanding

We who are manifestations of the first racial fiction
whose lapsed memory remakes the murder pact
can be the jaw or smash it. Two choices

If we plead our reckoning down
our doors off hinges us stripped
from land & open, as
reckoning the only water

If we do not


Last Interview with the Father

Q: Were you a child once
A: No

Q: Honesty
A: Violence. I had little choice. Then violence. I had a choice

Q: Honesty
A: I fear. Wish to thieve til my death knocks. It staves to believe

myself deserving any flesh, deserving the highest palace
If nearer the gods, I require a ladder under. I require you
my rungs. Need your bones. Need to desecrate the body
to believe I am not a body

Q: Why do I not leave you
A: You believe I made you. Even your impulse

to set me on fire is a paean

Q: Honesty. I am beyond you, despite you
A: My life’s work: dismembering alternatives to me

Q: Do you know this leads to our death
A: Your fault, as with others who refuse me

Q: Do you know this leads to yours also
A: Enough power over renders the holder immortal
A: In the last battle, I go out with my hands, my teeth

stuffed with greased meat and gold

A: Yes


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White Jaw: Copyright © 2017 by Laurel Bastian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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