In another life, I clawed the world
from the back of my throat
and cradled it to the bone
without making a single sound.
As a child, I would stream my thumb
across the stippled hairs on my father’s
chin—pressed my palms against
the shelf of his belly so I could become
familiar with what is human.
The first boy I fell in love with
carried himself in a long stretch
of pauses—deliberate and full-fledged.
We learned to love with the rhythm
of a labored breath—hushed by
our own inability to keep
ourselves taut and undamaged.
In another life, I hear my mother’s
voice colored by something that
lingers between a blunted breath
and a windowpane’s rattle.
One by one, we learn to love,
our backs bent in a prayer
that never touched our mouths.
Brittany Adames is a Dominican-American writer. Her work has been previously published in CALAMITY Magazine, Bombus Press, Blue Marble Review, TRACK//FOUR, and Rust+Moth, among others. She is pursuing a major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College and currently serves as the poetry editor for Concrete Literary Magazine. She has been regionally and nationally recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards.