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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 12, 2018.
About this Poem 
“I was dreading going back to my teaching job. I don't use that word lightly: dread, but imagine teaching Amiri Baraka to mostly white students of a certain experience. It was something else. Fight or Flight. This was shortly before the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. So I opted for f/light.”
—Lara Mimosa Montes
 

A Pain That Is Not Private

There is a time and place in the world for abstraction. When my mother left Puerto Rico for the first time, the year was 1968. Against my unknowing. We hesitate to say what intimacy is and whether or not we have it. I keep trying / to teach my students that / stream-of-consciousness is / this, not that / this / activity fails. We know it does because each of us leaves the room / feeling like barbed wire— snarling behind the barricade (because) at some point, we stopped feeling (like language could say). So we went without while some others embraced. Notice (after the emptiness) : a pain that is not private. In other words, focus not on the object, but rather, the light that bounces off of that object. Perforated. Estranged. Esa luz. Tómatela. Under that light° I felt my body try / to hold on (to the knot inside) your right hand; when did it become a fist? Remind me what it is again / what it is that you wish / to share (with others) >> when you’re on stage…
 
                                  °That light, this pain (what never translates).

Copyright © 2018 by Lara Mimosa Montes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Lara Mimosa Montes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Lara Mimosa Montes

Lara Mimosa Montes

Lara Mimosa Montes is the author of The Somnambulist (Horse Less Press, 2016).