» Poetry

Father Tongue

Our embargo lifted its hands

off my eyes yanked my chin towards
the colorful architecture of your face

and left me alone with you, strange courier

of my DNA you, an almost-familiar place.
Hello, Cuba, hello father, may I call you that?


If a homeland offers no house or apartment,

if there is no familiar front door acting as a veil
between day in and day out,

if there is not enough monotony
from kissing the same faces goodbye,

 if every family has its scent
and I can smell ours


then I am still an outsider your hija Americana

sitting finally at your table

cradling a cup of coffee like an egg in my palm.
Do not speak directly towards me
Do not be silent let me bask in your accent—


my first words were pale, vast land and highway,
mouth dry with Tennessee cornbread, Mom’s
bleached wooden spoon stirred in shug-uhr

 but at school I liked the feel of Spanish

 in my mouth, en mi boca like ripe black-skinned sweet plantain,
 butter-soft and fried, r’s rolling in a hot pan of my saliva.


 Before you called me daughter, I had proof

 tuyo es mío I am not yours            but what’s yours is mine


Trinity Tibe

Trinity Tibe is a Brooklyn-based poet, artist, and educator. She is a winner of Crosswinds Poetry Journal's Annual Contest and Pacifica Literary Review's Winter Poetry Contest. Her work has been or will be published by The Center for Book Arts, Bodega, The Florida Review (42.2), Duende, and more. Trinity was a 2018 artist-in-residency at the Trélex Residency in Switzerland. She has an MFA in Poetry from The New School. Find her on Instagram @trinitytibe.