March 22, 2021 · Issue 2: Space(s)

This House

Listen to Yasmeen talk about working with Textile on the Watershed Writers Podcast.

I am leaving this house, moving an hour away,
trying to feel like I am worth a beginning,
my mother tells me I am breaking her heart,
says that she did not leave everything she knew
for me to leave her and I say nothing

I am leaving this house and most days I am
drowning in more guilt than these lungs have
learned to breathe through, I was never taught
to swim, only drown, and I know, the women in
my family look at their daughters then look at
themselves and apologize, tell us if it weren’t
for me, you could have been beautiful

I am leaving this house that has left me biting
my lips until they bleed, until they are dry, until
they are permanently bruised from all the
biting, swallowing the words that are not
allowed in this house, my words are not
allowed in this house, can words that were
never said still exist, if I never leave, will I still

This house looks at me and tells me I have
amounted to nothing, looks at me and says,
we should have never left, you’re like this
because we left, maybe if we had stayed, you
would’ve been more than this

This house looks at me lying in my bed for
days and does not ask questions, just stares
and stares and stares, and I wonder
sometimes about phantoms, about mirages
that force you to sleep in the corner of your
bed, that tell you not to get up, not to leave, not
to do more than collapse under these stares
that are breaking mama’s heart

I am leaving this house mama don’t you see,
this house does not love us,
it has not loved us mama
come with me