—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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Stony trails of jagged beauty rise
like stretch marks streaking sand-hips.
All the Earth has borne beguiles us
& battered bodies build our acres.
Babes that sleep in hewn rock cradles
learn to bear the hardness coming.
Tough grace forged in tender bones—
may this serve & bless them well.
They grow & break grief into islands
of sun-baked stone submerged in salt
kisses, worn down by the ocean's ardor
relentless as any strong loving.
May they find caresses that abolish pain.
Like Earth, they brandish wounds of gold!
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.