She was taken to the madhouse

Despite the ounce of generosity she had given to the world, the sums of words and urges, nothing could compensate for her miserable becoming – of what she was supposed to be. 

I am not she, she thought, I will not let this avoidance of reality hover over my saying of things, even if that meant having a mouth full of ants. This tingling will resume years of silence, of previous generations of women swelling down emasculated syllables of ignorance around the shape of phonemes, bragged hearing bagging encrypted females, tranced by the sailing of muscled armful worlds. 

I will reject my parents, she continued, daring to desire unthoughtful thoughts, refusing this vocabulary of ancestral male yearnings. I will birth my death and be born again, outside this sentence of dreadful languages.

Father, you are hurting the palms of my hands, you are cutting my heart with the bronze of your pennies. 

Don’t you dare girl, is the look she gets, but he is weak, he doesn’t have the will to say it. His indifference is his weapon, his strategy to differ differences. 

I am the daughter of my mother, she speaks with her eyes, feeling hatred in her soul, despite her mother’s hold, despite her respite urging the unconscious birth of foreclosed emotions, the offspring of consciousness inducing her to destroy all that may endanger her fertile land, and for that, the need to sacrifice her earth, at least for now, for despite her innocence, she is the one who will be taken to the madhouse.  

Not her father, not her mother: she is the one who will be called insane. 

They will lock her up for her own good: wanting too much to be something other than her destiny. Her sin: she has become a woman. Not his, nor hers, perhaps never anybody’s, but at last free to have a slight curve in the lineage of her fate, costly recounting the currency of choice operations, mathematically leaving everything behind, the inquisition, aren’t you afraid of not having someone to pose questions so that they can answer themselves, the authority will inquire. 

No, the girl will think in a future past, fast forwarding herself into a bright vision of her hands handcuffed against a hospital gurney, watching her mother years miles further back, on a different continent, in an opposite hallway, a crisscrossing of gurneys and a smile on their faces, decades before, her mother ready to give birth to her second child, the girl’s big brother, a first-time glimpse into the paradoxes of being born. 

Video essay by Désirée Jung.

Published by Talon Review, Issue 3.

Official Selection of the 2024 International Reelpoetry Poetry Film Festival, Houston, Texas.