January 21, 2019

January 21, 2019


Free Testing Day

by Yola Gomez

double sided entry form sign on
the clinic door reads: trauma informed care
But i’m crumpled here can’t get
past page 2
doctors office tests so many
Radiating judgment
creating statistics of my friends
and of my soul
Sexual orientation
They ask if I’m a gold star
but I’m broken didn’t even make it
to bronze
I say I am a tin lesbian from a
vending machine
sitting sunstroked and neglected
upon window sill
Failed gays, mom and sister too
Cliche doc martins and bed death
I’m a good queer I tell the
person at the front desk
But yes, we’ve had men and they've
had us
and std’s at 13 and a doctor
leaning in real close to tell me be
check the box for how many in my
matrilineal line have heard voices
[Check] [ check ] [ check ]
Have you or any one in your family
had any of the following conditions?
My father and his sisters our
fucked family history of rural mountain towns
of backwoods
goings on and incest and beasts
roaming round white side
black and brown side
cancer and cancer Mexico
ethnicity boxes Full
My mom with the pills and
medical marijuana and how
she sits down now and wheels
around or walkers and canes with slurred steps
shaking trauma heads just
barking and yelping pissing all
life shitting where we slept
[uninsured] [unemployed]
and how
my son hears
the laughing that she heard
first when she was young
[ordinary weight gain] [ ordinary
teeth ] [ ordinary blood drawn ]
My uncle lit himself
on fire schizo p h r e n i a mom
pulled the plug
I dreamt that his skin swirled
away from his body that he
as he burned
black paper bits around
his head and
I could smell him

but boxes need checking
I lose my mind in this room
Overhead light blooms into my
cracks it open I can hear it like
a mosquito
The clock on the wall mocks
me tic-toc
Have you completed the forms?
But I can’t get past page two

I stare at the wall I don’t blink
so i get up and leave



Yola Gómez is a first generation Queer Xicanx Femme. They are an anti-racist activist, grad student, and Thurgood Marshall Fellow at Oregon State University Cascades School of Creative Writing. She has been published in Nat Brut. Currently, they are the co-editor and contributing author of Red Umbrella Babies; Sex work and parenting, an anthology. Before focusing on writing, Yola’s academic work was in Gender & Women's Studies, Middle Eastern North African Studies, and Arabic. She has extensive community organizing experience through anti-violence outreach and advocacy. In addition to their work as a writing fellow, she is working in community mental health.