Love born of amniotic fluid and blood, mixed equal parts of both. They say
a baby doesn’t know itself apart from its mother, and this is true of her too. How
she ached, breasts leaking, at the sound of your phantom cry. Her arms like phantom limbs,
foreign til the minute you laid in them. She remembers how she, cut layer by cut layer of her,
lay open and bleeding, five times stitched over for each of you. No hesitation.
Twenty-seven years still numb, her body broken and undone—
a mother’s blood never stops flowing. This act of outpouring, red
fingerprints on dried cheeks cleared of ghost tears. At her breast
you first tasted peace, its flavor eyes-closed, breath-easy, body-loose. She, your first
home, always leads you beside still waters. Rivers come together in her eyes
to keep you from drowning, her body the raft that saves you
dry until your feet touch solid ground, her prayers your green pastures.
She holds holy truths in the folds of both lips, He the wrong pronoun for God. For who better
knows the correlation between bleeding and loving, between drowning and breathing, than She?
Liz Márquez (she/her) is an Ecuadorian-American writer, poet, and bilingual educator based in Houston, Texas. Her first published poem, “Church Culture,” was a 2021 La Raíz Poetry Prize recipient. As a daughter of immigrants and first-generation college graduate, she explores inner child healing, mujerismo, and Latinx identity in her writing as a way of pursuing wholeness. Liz aims to be a good ancestor and therefore embeds the idea that true liberation is collective liberation into her writing. More of her writing can be found at http://www.lizmarquez.com.