—to Shirley Q. Liquor, Drag Queen in Blackface
When you're gay in Dixie,
you're a clown of a desperate circus.
Sometimes the only way to be like daddy
is to hate like him—
hope your brothers laugh
instead of shoot,
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after the news of the dead whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you —W.S. Merwin A blanket of fresh snow makes any neighborhood idyllic. Dearborn Heights indistinguishable from Baldwin Hills, South Central even— until a thawing happens and residents emerge into the light. But it almost never snows in L.A., and snows often in this part of Michigan— a declining wonderland, a place not to stand out or be stranded like Renisha was. Imagine a blonde daughter with a busted car in a suburb where a brown homeowner (not taking any chances) blasts through a locked door first, checks things out after— around the clock coverage and the country beside itself instead of the way it is now, so quiet like a snowy night and only the grief of a brown family (again) around the Christmas tree, recalling memories of Renisha playing on the front porch, or catching flakes as they fall and disappear on her tongue. They are left to imagine what her life might have been. We are left to imagine the day it won't require imagination to care about all of the others.
Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of She Has a Name (Four Way Books, 2013). Her honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Prague Summer Writing Institute, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York.