after Rane Arroyo
First I was fairy
In Catholic school, forbidden
fruit. This is a popular joke
but it is one that was used against me.
with lighter fluid.
The school hallways would bend
& curve like a pelvis. I made
no eye contact. A faggot
knows burning to be better
than a dead angel, one must
avert the gaze.
Each marble staircase layering
a particular volume of ridicule. I saw it
in their teeth hungering towards
the questions my body arose
in them. Yesterday, leaving
my apartment another stranger flickered
past my periphery. I feel the city breathe
out what I inhale. The fear I carry
from mirror to street corner to street corner to
cafe to bathroom to bus to train car to airplane
to department store to street to apartment.
I am not being dramatic.
I am writing my name on this beige uniform
collar over & over & over
the ones assigned then charted on the skin, like rage
pinned to a map. Riddled with holes
I count them like freckles, resign
to silence when the married faggots
I know asked what there is left
to be afraid of.
Yeah, I get it but do you have to be
so loud. Could you take it
as a compliment, then
thumb the fraught iron around their ring finger.
I touch my tongue to see what I have
to lose my mouth stuffed
with grey silk. I nod at the strangers.
I swallow the apartment key; laugh
at the jokes. I have a theory
about shovels it’s kind of funny.
When Adam met Steve
god pissed herself & gave him
wings. Song of angels heard through
the bedroom wall. Un-deviling;
I have another theory about closets
& the gowns inside them
but I’m waiting for the house to stop
burning so I can tell you.
I would be laughing if I wasn’t gagging
on the smoke. I cut slits in the suit jacket
so my wings could breathe.
Anyways, Steve pressed his mouth to a sapling
& it gave him a crown.
A naming. He knifed
the shovel into Adam’s shoulder,
stripped feathers, now crooked
in flight. Anyways, the fire is in the garden now
& the joke is behind it, staring in the language of man.
I’m waiting for you to notice me
pacing around the block. Go ahead.
The fairy is ash
now. Laugh. I’m not listening anymore.