Tag Archives: As a Black Woman

OPINION: The Voice Inside

by Patheresa Wells

“She stared at her father’s lifeless body, and the thoughts she could not voice dissolved into her blood, where they would stay with her for the rest of her life.”

 —Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem

There was a poem I started to write about my mother’s death but I could not finish it. I have probably started and stopped as many times as I take a breath in a day. I inhale in the breath of an idea but the exhale, the writing, doesn’t come. Maybe it is because I was there, alone, when she died. It was 2010 when she died during surgery at the age of 48. I was 30, 18 years younger than her. I was the only witness to her death. And like the air that could not make its way out of her after her final exhale, my words are trapped. They are stuck in my throat, that essential highway that brings us air, food, and water. That releases something I have always relied on: my voice. 

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