Mónica Gomery


I’m a molar wedged deep inside the back of her mouth. Oh,
the way she runs her tongue over me feels for scraps but
I feel gathered in. Oh, the way she says my name, everything
crowded into it, how fully she turns me, inside-out like a garment
shakes the sand out of me. How she knows and unknows me
pushes me away and is cosmos, the burning nose of each star.
I’m a seed, she’s soil folding me in. Compost of phone lines, trash bins
beers drunk on rooftops in cities. She is crooning and rageful, sweaters
and droughts, she does not speak but Oh, how she speaks
the sun woven through tree limbs, her voice in the oceanic lifting
of humans in song. Her voice roasts salt into zucchini, electrifies
hungering limbs of entangled teenagers, lays ​palms against
every war zone, collision, every waterlogged island, ​her voice
every mouth of every bird and every volume of Talmud. ​Oh child
she shovels light into me ​ Oh child​, she taught me to hold a body
with my own hands while all the breath left it, ​Oh small thing
she carves her voice through my mind, ​small small cherished thing
her voice mountains into me hurricanes into me, crashes
around me and the gratitude hurts so much I think it will rip me clean
end to end. She ​wraps me in worry, ​ swaddles me against city, she teaches
me love so I’ll always be hungry. She teaches me Hebrew so I’ll always
be longing, so I can use the language of my greatest great uncles to thank her
to say please, all of our eyes wilting into the mystery, the words crack like frozen
rain on our eyelashes, shake all of our heads. ​Oh vessel​, she whispers
as I mourn and surrender ​Oh precious ​​ you’re so important and unimportant
you’re so good and already forgotten​. She says, ​Stop hurting yourself, stop
hurting others. ​I’m on my knees she is that burning in my bent
is the night, cloaks me when I can’t sleep, ​Take a walk​, ​touch
all of my quilts, ​says, ​bang any object against another to find me​.

Mónica Gomery is a poet and rabbi, raised by her Venezuelan Jewish family in Boston and Caracas, and now living on Lenni Lenape land in Philadelphia. Her work explores queerness, diaspora, ancestry, theology, and cultivating courageous hearts. She is the author of Here is the Night and the Night on the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018), and the chapbook Of Darkness and Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). She is the winner of the 2020 Minola Review Poetry Contest, and has been a finalist in both the Newfound Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize and the Cutthroat Journal Joy Harjo Poetry Contest. Her poetry can be found most recently in Frontier, Foglifter, Ninth Letter, Interim, Southern Indiana Review, and as a Poetry Foundation Poem of The Day. Read more here.