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Chahney Young


I have been avoiding my mother for a week.


I know that if I open my mouth,

there will be no hiding

my bitter bite of a voice.

That talking to her will reveal the

secrets piling up in my throat,

the roof of my mouth a scraped sky...


I find I no longer have the stomach for hiding,

and I spill, a halting account.

I tell her the secret of being boxed in.

The roar between the ears,

the cold, still, hollow of the chest.

What it feels like to be so abandoned,

even the echoes have gone

and even then,

the waiting.




My mother reminds me that

her sister has a degenerative disease,

a Sword of Damocles over her head,

tells me, neither of us are facing anything

quite as bad as that.

I don’t tell her that I have
a sword, too, a terrible
heirloom already
embedded in my middle.  

How I spill and spill.

I am more dangerous to myself

than anything else ever is.


I want to ask her if she knows

how many times

your heart can get cut out

before it stops growing back.


Instead, I press my cheek to her chest.


I listen.


I wait.

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Chahney Young is an educator, advocate, and maker from the US Virgin Islands and based in Brooklyn, NY. They are a dreamer, insufferably concerned with nuance, and think that everything is possible whether we like it or not. You can find them on Instagram @chahneymakesstuff.


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