She does not begin her song at its beginning anymore.
We are still in love / with our presumed pedigree / of certain ghosts….
She sifts through each proceeding verse, the grain of her voice ascends. She sings of the construct of his skin, the obtrusiveness of bone, the scratch of thorns that precedes the blood.
She is still considered a young woman, has changed little since I was small enough for her to cradle. Her eyes, perhaps, stare more deeply. Her hands tremble noticeably when she brushes the sand from my arms. The other women in the village seem older, but they are not. They stare, they shade their eyes with small flat hands, their lips tighten with frowns.
I cannot contain him in my grief / in a temple of duplicitous priests….
“Are you her boy?” a woman asked of me. “The singer? The whore? She thinks you are his only favor. You are her bastard, did you know? Go, hide yourself and your shame.”
“I am not him,” I said, and the woman walked away.
It is like this in every village. I never tell her what they say to me.
We do not stay in any one place for long. There are so many towns and villages along our path that we are not always noticed right away. There is something in her face, I think, that draws their attention. Although she cloaks herself in a widow’s robe, we are always revealed, and it is always with scorn.
The singer. The whore.
I am unashamed, I tell her.
I am not him, I said to the woman.
I fall into my mother’s voice when she sings. We do not need to go back to the beginning. In her song, we are both free and we are both our true selves. Of certain ghosts, she used to sing, and I still believe that is who we are.