WHAT IT IS
by Susan Fedynak
featured on Life As Activism
is how I hate my face. is how my face is amnesia. is how i love my face. is how my face is still amnesia. is waking up at 4am feeling like there is someone in the room, someone saying don’t forget me. is saying, ma, you know what the really effed up thing is, is how knowing where you come from is the privilege $99 and a mailing address gets you. is that the effed up thing is it isn’t a right. is buying your mom a dna kit for christmas. is what the hell is christmas anyway. is collective amnesia. is wanting to know if her estranged father had royal blood in him. is rethinking what is royal. is what is blood. is colonialism. is sitting in a lecture hall while a professor talks about post-colonialism. is post what now. is funny sounding names. is feeling funny. is what is funny. is north africa. is the caucuses. is the iberian peninsula. is the americas before the americans. is how my hand shakes too much to draw a straight line. is how a circle means there is a point to return to. is how i can’t draw a circle either. is wondering what was the name of my ancestor, i mean the last one to live in a world without government borders. is wondering what the hell is a name. what the hell is a border. is not wanting to co-opt anything from anyone, just wanting to report back to my visitors at 4am that we’re ok now. for now. i think. is starting to write this 100 times and stopping the first 99. is still feeling round though. is how one thought can make me feel belly full of child and at the same time like a child. is who in my bloodline has been waiting 500 years for me to mother them. is please take a number. is what is belly full. is sing me to sleep ma, sing me to sleep. is ma tell me where you and me came from. is we came from everywhere and right here. is the truth is baby I came from you. is feeling like a fraud. is knowing a fraud doesn’t worry about getting in the door, a fraud worries about someone showing them the door. is living in a city where not even the snow stays white for long. is not knowing which thoughts come from inside my body and which are pressed on my body from the outside. is wondering what it is like to be the flame instead of the wick. is reading minds. is only wanting to report back, I’m sorry no one told me. is you only get one first language. is i was averse to english as a child. is it was all I had. is wondering what’s the matter with me. is feeling ungrateful. is fainting spells. is sunday drives. is officiants of amnesia. is sylvan manor and fork in the road esquinas and google maps. is never learning to find my way by the stars. is stowing away. is 4am. is everywhere.
Susan Fedynak’s work has appeared in Stork, Blood and Thunder, Fiction Fix, the speculative fiction anthology A Field Guide to Surreal Botany, published by Two Cranes Press, and is forthcoming in Paper Darts. Since 2012 she has been a trained NY Writers Coalition workshop leader, facilitating free outreach writing workshops throughout the city for LGBTQ seniors, senior women, women in recovery, community healthcare workers and prison educators. She earned a BFA from Emerson College and is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing at Pratt Institute. She lives in, and makes art in, her hometown of Queens, NY.
Image credit: Ander Burdain on Unsplash