debt- collector, debt- collector.
She goes by many names but
I simply call her mom.
Rent is due, and she’s banging on my door, screaming
that I can’t live for free.
It’s not fair, she says.
That the life she carved out for me
is weighed down by dues and debts.
The universe between my palms,
God seems to bask in my light.
I feel his presence every time I clap.
But the debt collector can’t have that.
Can’t have a young woman smiling without knowing
the whip’s echo that’s tearing at the skin at her back.
Not fair, the debt collector sings on my doorstep.
You kids— you know nothing of suffering. Given everything without a struggle or fight, love is your native tongue— you have never been without it. Love was never a drought. An empty stomach. Hunger pains driving you mad as you rock yourself to sleep. You’ll never know the sting of generational hate — the cold press of lips that can never ease this eternal ache. You never had to sustain yourself on love that was “just enough.” You expected us to erect a tower when I was given nails and a hammer. We built this world to give our children a chance but damn them for lapping in the luxury of our efforts. I’ll never fly to the other side of the world. Rome. Paris. Instabul. Nothing but a list of impossible’s. I’ll never know what it’s like to take the reigns of my life; my fate has been set.
A debt collector who loves to take and take and take! I’ll never be free of this cycle of hate. I’ll never be content while you sleep peacefully in bed. Finally, it’s my turn to scream. To fight. To finally understand why it feels so fucking good to hold power in my fists. Because I’ve only known the back of the hand, the edge of the fist. I’ve been crushed down and kneaded into shape. I’m the debt-collector— surely you recognize my face? I’m your mother, your aunt, your grandmother. I’m every woman you’ve passed on the street.
A chorus of woman who’ve only known suffering and pain.
I can’t stop crying, mama. Why do your eyes glow with excitement when you take from me? Reveling in my sobs and suffering, when will this debt finally be paid? when will you set me free?