I hope my grandmother dies before I get married. I have said this many times, how it stings like a bug zapper in my chest. A flicker of guilt before the soft fall of the tongue. I imagine arranging the wedding seats, and not hating anyone enough to sit them near her.
I was fifteen when I stopped calling my family My Blood. How they wore the faces of strangers, cracked cement mouths, dry lips that do not purse my name. Every accomplishment I dipped my fingers in, she insinuated was because of my father. Which is to say, was because of her. She would only speak this to my mother. Black eyes spelling: Every Fault She Has Is Because of You. She is the spinning arrow in the throat of an oppressor. Clicking against cigarette filter teeth. Breathing smoke into my mouth until they told her she would have to wear one of those wires, you know, the ones coiling from behind her ears to inside her nose. May we only value our inhales when they affect our vanity.
Jess goes home every Sunday to visit Teta and Jido. I started following her home for the holidays. How Tyler and I gorged on the pita and taboule last Easter. The meat, the fig and pistachio cookies. We played with the cousins that are not my cousins except they are. And My own grandmother hasn’t called me Marisa in years. Stopped when I was fourteen, when I wore knee high converse and a velvet mini skirt to Christmas. Scanned me as if the devil had me by the wrists. Everyone talks about the way she lights up when my cousin Brittney walks into the room. Her eyes glint something almost holy. Mom says it is because Brittney looks like a younger version of herself, with the dark hair, the shorter frame. “She is a more traditional form of pretty,” she says. it helps her to relate, Nana just doesn’t know you. She is afraid of powerful women. I think my grandmother was a powerful woman once. Or maybe just a girl, went to private schools with Jesus statues hanging from the brick walls. Something happened to her there, but no one talks about it. The same way my blood doesn’t want to scream anything. I stopped talking to my uncle when he cursed the circumference of Connecticut for letting the gays in. At this point, I came out to my mother with the potential of being bisexual. The last time I saw him he called my mother a faggot. Three years later shot a hole inside his skull. Needed an opening for all of the violence to spill out. Leak demons into the floor. My blood started cutting his face from the photographs, his memory is a smoke we are so accustomed to, we have forgotten how to see it. I learned I have five relatives we have disowned with their suicides, and Nana stopped talking to Britt when she started dating a Puerto-Rican. Stopped prying her bones out of the mattress before noon. I don’t know what she drinks, but she drinks something in the kitchen corner. We all know she’s losing it. Say it’s dementia, say it’s a long time coming.
Last year she had a psychotic break. Thrashed around in a hospital bed until I remembered I still have her floating around in my body somewhere. She started seething at the spiders, claimed they were coming out of the cracks in the walls. All of the demons my family has poured into the ground are coming back for her. Something was coming to get her. It was dark. Almost looked like the devil was reaching for her with more limbs than we could count.
Marisa Glynn is a poet, painter, person living in Boston. She’s a graduate student in the field of the brain and helping people. She loves October — both the month and her dog. Find her at local poetry readings, having feelings at poems and hissing at misogynists.