memoir (Kaya Lattimore)

tita ruth tells stories as if         she belongs to them         as if
 they are alive eating tinola         at the kitchen table with us
in the house apu built         bare hands on bamboo slats
years ago         my small weight on the slow rot         now
a scar on my right leg         a piece lodged inside me
another story to belong to         now         the rain         the wet
earth after it         fertile and lush         i hear the sound of
the name i belong to         tomorrow we say         goodbye
in a month migration or         according to my passport
homecoming         citizenship inherited from my mother or
privilege for being born does not yet become me         down by
the river rushing water         sings every ghost alive do they
know me do they know         i belong to them         that        i am
leaving them behind         i wait for the swallow of time        for my
mouth to recede with the tides         let me exchange my stories
for silence         my tongue forgets         i belong to it         every
language i have is         borrowed         when i leave i give them back 
one         word         at         a         time         but the accent stays
i belong to it         i wear another         my father’s melanin in my
skin washes away         in saltwater i drink it in         it belongs to me
shores shift into borders         backandforth         backandforth 
my body a shipwreck         now         only water         a refracted
memory         another scar another         story to belong to


Kaya Lattimore is a Filipinx-Australian writer and poet. As a mestiza, immigrant and queer womxn, her writing obsessions include diaspora, family histories, queer and racial identity, and language.  Her poetry has appeared in Not Very QuietAustralian Multilingual Writing Projectamberflora zine, and Djed Press. Kaya has performed her poems at various open mics and poetry slams in Nipaluna/Hobart, Ngunnawal country in Canberra, and now, Boorloo/Perth. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @kayalattimore.