even our mothers have no idea how we were born how we parted their legs and crawled out into the world the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing we couldn't tell which of us was a girl or a boy we gorged on dirt thinking it was bread and our future a gymnast on a thin thread of the horizon was performing there at the highest pitch bitch we grew up in a country where first your door is stroked with chalk then at dark a chariot arrives and no one sees you anymore but riding in those cars were neither armed men nor a wanderer with a scythe this is how love loved to visit us and snatch us veiled completely free only in public toilets where for a little change nobody cared what we were doing we fought the summer heat the winter snow when we discovered we ourselves were the language and our tongues were removed we started talking with our eyes when our eyes were poked out we talked with our hands when our hands were cut off we conversed with our toes when we were shot in the legs we nodded our heads for yes and shook our heads for no and when they ate our heads alive we crawled back into the bellies of our sleeping mothers as if into bomb shelters to be born again and there on the horizon the gymnast of our future was leaping through the fiery hoop of the sun
From Factory of Tears by Valzhyna Mort. Copyright © 2008 by Valzhyna Mort. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.