First Lessons of Decolonization

By Magdalena Gómez

Attempts to torch were made.
Firefighters fought back every time.
The building, big, dense, well built
like the tenants, refused to fall.
We’d been through a lot worse.
Mami grew up in a shanty town
raised on wobbly stilts over open sewage
colonialism’s backhoes dug toilets
of diphtheria, malaria, dysentery 
efficient ethnic cleansing as the mainland
canned sprays for every hole
of women’s bodies. Desecrated
for profit.

The hole over our tenement toilet
gaped wider each day.
Upstairs neighbors got a
“free show” each time
we had to go.
I took to it all like a gas soaked duck
with umbrella
and galoshes.
Channeled Gene Kelly.
Step. Splash. Sing.
We laughed hard.
Held dignity close.
We had been through worse.

This piece is from The Feminist Toilet #2. To return to the table of contents, click here.

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