Sometimes I feel like a neglected zucchini. An ornament on the table that no one sees, and as the days go by brown spots that rapidly turn to black begin to appear on its body. Its green skin turns yellowish, its body begins to bend, wrinkle and soften. And, just before putrefaction, a kind of watery yellowish-green fetus remains, invisible, immovable, irrecoverable.
Yes. Sometimes women are, we are made to feel, we convince ourselves, that we are a zucchini. Sometimes rotten, sometimes in the maximum beauty of its maturity: green, shiny, neat, prophylactic. Sometimes.
I have been a zucchini and I have been a woman, I have shouted with my life in my throat and I have been deathly silent; I have felt alive, alive, very much alive, and I have felt annihilated, too.
I have learned and relearned; me, I have relearned myself. I have unmade and remade myself, I have seen myself outside of myself, I have discovered myself and reassured myself, black skinned woman, poor woman, lively eyed woman, plain and bare footed woman, strong handed woman,
sweet mouthed and sharp tongued woman.
In a few years this woman has seen herself in other women so many times and has returned to herself with new things and has emptied herself of so many others. This woman has felt herself in so many others and has felt so much within, in, herself that she is able to be zucchini and to be living woman, at the same time.
This one, this one, this one, recognizes herself in the pain of the tonsils when the unrestrained scream hasn’t come out in time and is trapped choked sticking out and shakes vertiginous almost epileptic full of energy dead in life for not being able to climb out until the stomach tightens the heart beats violently and the mouth opens open opens yes like a serpent and that historical, old, aged scream comes out, yes.
That pain is felt in this throat as it is felt in the others, and this pounding heart beats rapidly as it beats in the others, and these feet walk and cramp up as the others cramp up too because this oppressed body of mine kicked silenced but never annihilated is the same as the others, yes, in all its diversity but now with a mouth with gasoline and hands with matches that set all on fire.
Tongues will burn as words will burn but never, never, never again will our bodies that now know they are women feel like women move like women laugh like women cry like women and with those bare feet tread on the fertile land which with these hands sow and let grow all that we are and all that we never were in spite of the eye of the white assassin.
We are not theirs, we are ours and now our own more than ever just as I am mine but also zucchini although that I am unlearning but I still have a little bit of green zucchini left but of a serpent-mouth I also have plenty. Serpent-mouth woman-mouth zucchini-skin that fights fights fights not to be herself a vegetable but to be herself a woman-life, a woman-people.
Sometimes when I feel the people inside me my palms tingle and my heart goes boom boom strong and my feet move on their own to the rhythm of the drum and my eyes sparkle bright eager with emotion. Sometimes when I feel the people inside my chest crumples and my body vibrates with resistance and love and with will, so much will to live to live as a woman that I am that we are.
Sometimes when I read the voices of all those I have read before, of all those who have read me come out through my mouth and through their mouths has come out that voice that teaches me that recognizes me that learns me. Sometimes the pages of books and poetry and stories shiver when a woman reads when a woman tells when a woman speaks and through her mouth come out voices the many voices of other women that are still alive in within us.