Snakes weave in and out of their spaces, they are hardly seen or heard or anticipated. They usually simply appear, without warning.
Usually they scare the fuck out of you, and you jump and try to escape and while you do— while you’re running, the snakes will follow. They’re hungry.

When you close your eyes     (just don’t see it)

Pretend we are children again             but garden-variety this time

Filthy fingernails skinning the caked-on filth and terror and shame of moments alone in the backyard

while he fucked our mother

she locked the backdoor and we knew

sitting on concrete steps         with the black dog

that was never allowed upstairs         or in any part of the house

the smell of mom’s cooking                or permeations of her absence, foreplay

she was always there but never there

(just don’t see it)        peel away the layers of panic                         as you would a vegetable

positioned obediently in the back yard          but we were savages

and      longed to belong to someone else

alone, the three            but always well supervised by a black iron fence 7 feet tall

once her gestating body could no longer hold him: my innocence interrupted, groped         

my shame blossoming in a room that cast no shadows          walls of fake wood/particle board     

bleeding to the sound of Barbra Streisand on the record player as mother sang along in another room, another world

skipping, skipping, skipping                          mother’s voice never keeping time with the music

never keeping time with anything                   but him

while we were hemorrhaging, we were bled so young

hyper visible but invisible

she didn’t know          did she know

and we didn’t know    did we know

we wanted you but you didn’t want us, not anymore

we craved safety         to be held safely

oh, but what we got                  (just don’t see it)

was someone broken                  madre/mother

sitting in the dark listening to sensational love songs             in both languages/shrill

her children                 becoming snakes in the garden, but not the garden-variety type

Raquel Gómez Savoy is a writer/poet from Chicago. She is a current English grad student at NEIU and is working on a poetry collection focusing on trauma and its various, complicated forms. Raquel  is obsessed with her rescue dogs and children, in that order. She can be found on Twitter: @jinxcatblue

Banner image by Olivia Cronk