noun (no plural)
the arrangement of sound and silence in time.

  my grandmother’s skin is as brown as the earth,
  like the clay beneath grass, 
 and her voice is the gravel found in it.
   my father cried the first time i had an empanada. 
  he told me how excited he was to tell his mother. 
   he held me.

   if they’re the sound, then i’m the silence
they’re the music that uses its hips
   i’m the silence that fills the room when my mother walks in and sees us dancing
   in the kitchen, me, my sister and him.

   i don’t know how to spell my grandmother’s maiden name. 
  i know how it sounds, and i sometimes try it on. does it fit?

   if they’re the sound, then i’m the silence
  the breath my sister and i held when they fought
   when my mother called him a spic, when she would yell for hours

she’d say

“careful you don’t grow a mustache like your aunts”, made us wax until our faces were red

 “it’s obnoxious, turn it off” when we’d play music

   “you love mexicans more than you love your wife” when he’d been at the office all day, working on immigration cases

   if they’re the sound, then i’m the silence
  my grandmother can barely talk, barely eat
   i don’t have her skin, her brow
  a stranger’s complexion over a bloodline
   she might die before i visit next
  could i live with that?

   if they’re the sound, then i’m the silence
  that’s always there. that’s here.

t.g. is a second-year animation student at SVA. He is a trans man and "un
"un cuartorriqueño"(a "quarter Rican") who hails from the cow-infested 
plains of northern Illinois. In addition to publishing his poetry in this 
issue of The Match Factory and in the recent issue of Words (SVA's print 
literary magazine), t.g.also drew this issue's cartoons.