Fátima Policarpo speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “Her Borders Become Her,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Policarpo talks about creating an essay that includes elements of ghost stories, using language barriers and rich settings to set up complicated dynamics between family members who bully, and are later bullied in turn. She also discusses her current manuscript, a longer work incorporating many of the ideas and themes explored in this essay, and about her work teaching writing and literature with a focus on human rights education.
Podcast: Fátima Policarpo on “Her Borders Become Her”
She had been dead nearly a decade before she sought me out. I was in my late twenties when she first came to me; then, again and again over a period of several years, whenever I came home to visit and always in the middle of the night as I slept in my old room. Before it was mine, it was hers. In the recurring dream or vision, I opened my eyes to darkness and knew I was not alone. She stood in the far corner by the closet, waiting for something. The air between us, a conduit—even from across the room, I felt her body tingling my skin. You don’t always have to see a thing to know it exists.