F e r n a n d a N u n e z / F l o t s a m S t u d i o

I’ve been eating from my mother’s tongue

It must have been the residue of all the threaded unsaid syllables that, like hair, balled up in my throat. It must have been the language of grief that I always refused to speak, its overused words were clogging time’s flow and time itself was refusing to pass through my lungs. It was the distance between the site and my body which defined how the events would forever play out in my memory, a distance so unbridgeable it made the moment itself untouchable. It wasn’t my own body that touched him. It couldn’t have. My hands would have failed to hold him, unsure of how to reach, breach space, they briefly hovered in front of my body and then remained heavy parallel to my thighs. My palms did not cup the blood spilled on the floor, they could not. Although they would have. They would have cupped it, brought it close and smeared it on my face. Had my nose been able to smell it, the odor of death, the odor of blood, the gunpowder burning off, the residual cleaning supplies, it would have drowned in it. Had my tongue been there, it would have licked the air helping breath-by-breath swallow-on disbelief. There was no corpse. There was blood, I imagine. This is what was inferred from everyone’s fragmented accounts, because no one will say it, and I wouldn't dare ask my mother. I couldn’t ask my mother, even though she talks, she talks about everything and that helps, but me, no, I can’t ask, I can barely stand listening, I cant utter a word, any word. If I could utter a word that would get me closer to an image I would. I would like to set on one image, one I can trust.