Auto-anthology. by Sara Beth Brooks (she/they)

My first language is forgetting. To spite me, you rattle
like loose change in the corners of my mind. So I grow

you into a tree that I cannot erase. It doesn't work,
and now I've forgotten your smile. Then I forgot

that I forgot and forgot again that I am a child,
and also never too young to be an adult.

This brain works like the radio dial and I live in the static,
between stations where songs play over each other.

I am a ball of scribbles all over the page. Even then,
I am writing myself down so that I know why I am alive.

The doctor compliments me. You’re an excellent historian.
My grandmother’s pride radiates through the veil. I provide

a forensic timeline of where and when it hurts,
but it’s easy to forget that I live in defiance of every statistic.

These days I have the opposite of a death wish. Every time
I meet a new doctor, I expect to hear

You're dying. It never comes – which is to say, I am battle born
again and again, wounds keloid across this heart. There,

a future could be documented, if I don’t forget to write it down.
I run my fingers along the seam where untouched flesh begins.

Sara Beth Brooks (she/they) is a queer and disabled self-taught poet and visual artist whose work is in conversation with ancestry, lived experiences, and a vision for a liberated future. Their writing explores grief, illness, disability, queerness, and the vulnerability of human bodies. They also teach writing workshops including a monthly editing workshop called Revision Roundtable. She lives with her spouse and their tuxedo cat on the ancestral homelands of the Nisenan Miwok people, colonially known as Sacramento, California.