Linguistic Rewilding

by Clayre Benzadon


a dream            as loose
as         incomprehensible

wobbles            like teeth
falling out         depleted
like power           outage

langu    age      cut
from      gum       bomb

encendida inside the mouth
like lengua      as an automatic
incendiary           tool

como trozos de carne asada
con sabor    carnal    ass-heavy

unintentionally fuerte
like      frag      ments
         grenade      meant

               as   strong as

with the replacement
of just a few letters

            letra / let her/

how can la libertad be a woman
when she is basura / cocina / doméstica


to preserve something
means to serve before
anything else,

mantener como
una manta manchada
and to keep
using it

like a woman,
mugre, trap-
o sucio,

hasta que convierte
en mugre.


Perra sucia.
it’s easy to convert
the vowel from “o”
to “a”, to swap the sound
when it’s convenient.

the masculine form
is standard. the language
regulator is El and he
is my father telling me

así no es como sienta
una señorita, as if there
were no room for women

to feel. the “ita” is only
added as a kindness.

I sit pretty, even when
“los hombres”, used to
mean “people”,
does not include me,

and “hembra” merely
refers to female animals,
is slang for chick.

When I’m a girl, I take the spanish
into my mouth and it sparkles.
I leave my door open
when I change and my
father walks past me as
I strip into a

nude sparkler,
just like the words
I play with are,
bare in mi mano

he barely sees me
but still flinches.

before he can say anything,
I yell: esto es todo lo que
puede hacer una mujer,

ella puede hacer
lo que le da la ganas
con su propio cuerpo,

I restore a remnant of
my tongue, my self—

the salvaje refuses
to leave me.

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