• By Lydia Rider (she/her)
  • Art “Flowers” by Yulismairi Guzman (she/her)
It often seems that time    moves    so    slow
That I forget that I’m alive.
But I am.
And I finally have this urge to be myself.

It seems that I have held my tongue
So long that my lips forget the form of words—
Of my words.

These cities sweltering,
Swelling with apartments and cement,
I had sworn I’d never find myself here.
First here, then there.
Now here and there…

Words are the chisels and knives we crave to speak ourselves alive.
Craves, like urges, like itches—
And I have worn this itch
On the very center of my back,
And resigned any urge to scratch.
But it seems now’s the time to carve myself a home.

It was as if the audacity occurred to me,
To etch my very history, and future, and present.
Into the plaster walls of a real house.
And there’s houses all around me but—
You know, houses don’t make homes—
They seem more to me like mortgages made of two-by-fours;
and lifestyles lived between nine-to-fives.
It seems I need a home, and

And it seems that people scare me
And that the violence from the noise of the faces on the streets,
Are met at my ear—blocked out
By a vacuum seal within my skull.
Words can be like warriors, carnage, combatting and bashing—
It’s a battleground because of the very ways I have hoarded
The very essence of expression.

And if I had to be a warrior,
I would fight only for myself,
And the rest of us too.
Who are fighting for themselves.
Loud, and us, together.

And I’m more the kinda gal to wage a war of flowers.
Tell me—who can be the kindest?
Because to those wars on behalf of those beliefs of men,
You might find me humming other tunes,
Synchronized to the very heart-blood that moves me.

You know, in some forests they say that trees talk.
Roots of the trees, complicated by mycelium.
Complex conversations
One can only trip to comprehend.

It seems now that I have been stumbling
Over roots under stretches of busted-out concrete
But nothing had ever pulled me in—held me.
I have been a zombie only because my lovers have always found
me unintelligible—
But I don’t blame them for not knowing to seek the unknown.

And so now, I seek myself, and ground myself.
Only in rooting to myself,
Rooting for myself,
Did I find the roots in a commonwealth—singing a hymn of us.
To sing is to speak and to speak is to be
Voice and voices—make me feel    at one.