Diannely Antigua, Diary Entry #34: Epigenetics

It’s been eight years
and the ancestors in me are still
burdened. I don’t know if I am gentle with them.
I reheat the coffee in the microwave,
find gratitude when they take what’s theirs
and leave the rest. There will always be
scarcity—less food, less klonopin—
which is to say I own a legacy of fear.
Tonight, another grandmother is dying,
and I cannot heal her. But I line up
my idols like bruises on my belly
and perform a nostalgic ritual:
I shower with my clothes on
like I did as a girl with a man
who wanted to be my father,
when I became a little bird, helpless
to affection. Did he make me
a good monster or a bad one?
I can keep my cage clean,
wipe my mouth with my thumb.