The Audre Lorde Questionnaire to Oneself
For what do you not have words, yet? But isn’t that a bit on the
nose? Like, isn’t language supposed to be inadequate?
And if so, what do I do with that? What can I do with that?
And, hey, shouldn’t I be over this by now? But then I think no,
probably not, I mean, it’s not like I hallucinate bedside murder every night
or something neuroatypical like that. That’s the term for it, you know.
Neuroatypical. So I guess I have words for that. Sometimes
it’s my mother with a rifle, which makes sense. She’s the after-
math of a distant war, you know? No, you don’t. No one ever does.
Then sometimes it’s a wraith, there then gone. I wake up screaming—
one large battering ram, pummeling the air. So that’s what it is.
That’s what I don’t have words for. What do you need to say? List as
many things as necessary. But are you sure you want me to? Because
there’s the death sentence, you know, and the scar along my spine–
but, I mean, the rods make me a cyborg, so that part’s cool. But
the fear of death isn’t. Hey, when was the last time you died? Can I
ask that? Is death a ritualistic thing for you? Are you dying right now?
And I know what you’re thinking. Sure, but isn’t everyone scared of death? And,
I mean, probably, it seems like one of those quintessentially human things
to fear. But wait, back up a second. Remember the hallucinations?
Sometimes there’s a wolf. Not as often as my mother with a rifle, or the
distant sound of something cracking. But the wolf is always there, even
when I can’t see it. Would you believe me if I said that predators are quiet?
You never die when you think you’re going to. One day you’ll hit your head
& something will leak out & you’ll think—oh, so this is what death is like.
Because it’s never what you think it is. Slow, deafening. One blow after
another. Your teeth will never be straight again. And then, on tiptoe, the
Brianna Albers is a crip cyborg storyteller, located in the Minneapolis suburbs. In 2016, she founded Monstering, a magazine for disabled women and nonbinary people; she currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief. Her début chapbook, Why I’m Not Where You Are, was a finalist in Where Are You Press’ 2015 “Where Are You Poet” contest, and was published in 2016 by Words Dance Publishing. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in TYPO Magazine, Guernica, and Word Riot, among others.