“Confessions” by Marthé Ndongala


I don’t know how to love.
They didn’t teach me how to breathe
I use rib cages as jungle gyms and hang my body to dry
My spine won’t break no more
I’ve dreamt of too many fallen teeth
There’s always a man hanging occupied signs on my mind
My ears tried to silence God
My mother turns her back when she speaks to me
I’m not see through I’m translucent
Art can’t be used to translate my humanity
I won’t hold space for ghosts anymore
I won’t call it love
My tears have always been invisible
My voice goes mute when I cry
I don’t eat to remember
I use hunger as a band aid
My name sounds like war cries
That’s why you never said my name
I’m not here anymore
Don’t leave a message.


Marthé Ndongala is Punch Drunk Press’s first Featured Woman Poet this August! She is a local creative residing in the Denver Metro Area. She works with various non-profit organizations teaching disenfranchised youth about writing, self love, and identity in the diaspora. Some of the organizations she has partnered with include Denver Children’s Home and SlamNUBA.  Born in Congo, Kinshasa Marthé believes in incorporating African identity in modern society by means of literary expression, videography, photography and other artistic expressions.  When she isn’t working with children, you can find her reading, painting, and learning Italian.  You can follow Marthé on instagram @m.t.nd.  Currently, Marthé is constructing her own brand as well as self-publishing a body of poetry titled Making Kindle Wood with My Mothers Legs.

Featured image by Nathaniel Tetteh

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