The Unknown

by Jazz Bell

SO MANY OF OUR STORIES WILL NEVER BE KNOWN: the times we asked each other have you ever felt comfortable? and laughed together because we already knew the answer / the many selves we had to swallow down for your comfort / the movements we stifled because of how heavily you fear anything pulsing, imperfect, human / the stories erased by white supremacy & cisheteropatriarchy / the access labor that went unnoticed, unrecognized, unnamed / the drawings we made in the psych ward, tossed in the trash when we left / the stories kept in the bodies of those kept from communication & connection / the things they keep behind the walls of an institution / the times our families hurt the stories out of us, ashamed / the times we sought care & were instead met with a sanitized violence / the pain you refused to acknowledge / the care we provided each other when we were left for dead / the times we took our medicine together to help it go down easier / the times we picked each other up from the hospital / the times you assumed our wellness so heavily you did not allow us our own needs / the times you assumed our sickness so heavily we were not allowed even a glimpse of redemption / the times you called on your gods to name us evil, criminal, ugly (as if those are not just words for your fear) / the joy we claimed despite your best efforts / this card is for all of it / everything we hid from you / everything you refuse to perceive / everything you eclipsed out of existence with tales of our defectiveness / we excavate our histories / knowing only that so much of what we will be left with / is unknowing

Image Description: A mountain range with fog is shown in the background. In the foreground, a long rectangular mirror is reflecting nothing.