Acne Scars

By Andrea Chow

a pyroclastic flow of screams

audible but just barely, clouds high enough to singe the ceiling

fill the living room, escape my mother’s lips like dragon’s breath

flow out from her to greet every corner, to soak every cloth

an aching and charred and angry fog machine

her shrieks enter my ears

i hear none of it

because my ears and my skin and my spirit are not part of the same body

i belong to myself but my skin belongs to my mother

she looks at me, 18 years old, but all she sees is her reflection

milagro maria vargas with someone else inside of her body

my skin is a tectonic plate

i am the collision point where continents clash against one another

the earth meets itself on my body in a violent crescendo

she named me after the mountains, strong and brave

that was a mistake

she should have named me after the volcanos, bloody and bold and bad-tempered

lava dripping down from the craters and peaks on my face

she should have named me after herself

my mother’s volcanoes have healed

now dormant, her skin rests; one day my skin will do the same

today she will slap my wrist for tearing open the cool basalt i wear

tomorrow she will slather me with sábila and prayers

but the volcano inside of me will burn forever.

Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad

Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad
Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad