When people say it’s friendly here, I think of the woman who called me a bitch
in the parking lot, not because she wasn’t friendly, but because only some of
the sounds that come out of our mouths are words. I wonder what here is
besides a point we’ve reached in an argument about who saw the parking
spot first. Here is a sound that depends on who hears it, like permanent
and Western and true. I’m from here— not in the sense some people mean,
but in the sense that my people, too, made themselves at home. In the sense
that borders are lines they painted on pavement, and I am a scar on the
landscape, which makes the landscape mine, in a way, like that parking spot
was mine. The sound of her car horn was the sound of her ancestors hollering
at me. I waved as though bitch were a greeting, which maybe it is, since I’m told
the people here are friendly. If I should die here, ship that bitch back home.
Copyright © Abby Paige. Originally published in Arc Poetry Magazine (2017).
Abby Paige a writer and performer, currently based in New Brunswick. She posts updates about her work at http://www.abbypaige.com.