Moon over Balandra Bay by Patricia Mohammed

There’s this patch of thirsty skin lodged carefully on the back of my calf. I suspect it’s there to get the privacy one needs to truly heal. How beautiful and odd that my fledgling body, both inanimate and alive, was always so wise. It’s a burn, the size of a small guava leaf, oval like a mouth or a portal to another universe. Aged like a sundried tomato and beloved like a delicacy, this thing has walked with me before I was in primary school. I must have misplaced my leg as I mounted my father’s motorcycle, his then vehicle of choice. I know a burn like that must have hurt — the breaths of mufflers are never kind. But that wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting a ride. I was tougher then. With hands clasped around his gut, my father and I cruised down the wobbly lanes of Pouyatt and Crooks Street where the zinc fences that made homes glistened in the eventide light and old women sitting outside on multicolored buckets smiled at us in between thick, hearty laughter. The pain was live as coals but soon the seething stopped, and it wasn’t alive anymore. It was elsewhere, in that magical non-anatomical place that my body created to store the pain it knew I would encounter in my life. There you can find my personal museum of trauma—the flashes of eyes from neighbors as they ignore my brother beating me to the anguish of deciding what to bring for my move to America to the sound of my father telling me I need help for my audacity to love women.  There are times I want to visit the place, just to taste the bushtea-bitterness, just to confront the congregation of hurt. But most times, I just look back at my muffler burn, this patch of thirsty skin lodged carefully on the back of my calf, thankful that there was a time I was fearless, thankful that this place exists.

Kay-Ann Henry is a Jamaican multidisciplinary artist currently based in Miami, Florida.  Henry graduated from the University of Miami where they studied journalism, creative writing, and sociology.  Their work, which includes the mediums of poetry and photography, is steeped in the intricacies of a Caribbean identity along with meditations upon immigration, spirituality, and queerness.