Jabreya’s Words

 “This is the oppressor’s language yet I need it to talk to you.”
-Adrienne Rich

You ask me how to spell
“ain’t” and I want to
write “a-i-n’-t,” those malleable scraps
of sound welded into a graphite
fixture for you to hang
portraits upon:
Momma’s scalded hand shooing
you to the rhythm of “ain’t gonna
touch this stove” or  the sway of
“ain’t a monster down there”
as she swings you back into bed.

You write “is not” five times over,
the paper spotted in tiny graphite smudges—
your fingerprints, their ridges carved,
into a blooming spiral
from silvery grit-sheen.

Your mouth is small
and indifferent to the grammar
of “wounded” and “victim” that slides
from the reporter’s mouth, as you press
your fingers into the television set.

You say “I want to help those people—
ain’t nobody else going to”.  And we make
a diorama of the hospital you will work in.  Your hands
resting paper-bodies into beds of felt,
the roar of your whistle-siren
echoing through the room.

Courtney Hitson recently earned her MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago. Her poems have appeared in The Broken Plate, The Public Haiku, Columbia Poetry Review and Arsenic Lobster, and are forthcoming in NAP. Her scholarly interests include cognitive rhetorical theory, cognitive neuroscience, theoretical and particle physics, and pedagogical studies.