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The Therapist Says to Talk Through Your Door in Case You’re Listening

By Elizabeth Acevedo

Rob, my heart is a peeled clementine and I don't wince
anymore when you stick your thumb in the hollow middle,
pull apart. You don't even swallow these pieces
just set them underneath your bed (next to the safe box
Papi pried open because he was afraid you'd bought a gun.
It was actually a bundle of never posted letters to Obama
asking him for the money owed to you for having penned
The Sixth Sense and A Beautiful Mind), and as this scent
of rotting citrus blossoms in the room we shared as children
--I can hear you murmur, your laugh echoing my scraping
at the wood of your door. Rob, I am splintered, drawn blood.
We both know how to slip medicine into milk, how to gift
each other with our backs. The hundred kinds of get out
someone can backhand against a name, take them all, palmed,
opened, don't be afraid that I'll ever try to walk through this door,
because the surface against my cheek is the only comfort you've shown
me in years. Rob, you always said clementines were too sweet.
Fold, shrivel, leave nothing behind but molded skin.

Added: Monday, July 14, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Elizabeth Acevedo
Photo by Stephanie Ifendu.

Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City and her poetry is infused with Dominican bolero and her beloved city’s tough grit. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo is a National Slam Champion and has performed for over 14 years at such nationally and internationally renowned venues as The Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, South Africa’s State Theatre, The Bozar in Brussels, and the National Library of Kosovo. She is also well known for poetry videos, which have gone viral and been picked up by PBS, Latina Magazine, and Cosmopolitan. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, Callaloo, Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review, and others. Acevedo is a Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop. She is the author of two poetry collections: Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and her debut novel, The Poet X (HarperCollins) will be published in 2018. She served as coach of Split This Rock's DC Youth Slam Team from 2013 to 2015. Learn more at her website.

Elizabeth Acevedo is a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2018. Visit the information page for more details.

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