Bê Ðê

Trans Issue 2015

Slur song. Steel pipe dragged across pavement
clicking a two-beat count. Heart

stopper. Gag chant. Flesh rattled dance. Cigarette stomp
straight to the teeth. You say one thing and I hear

the moon shudder, bone whistle
and shrink. I imagine your laughter

stunning a bird, tilting a window frame, locking
a hundred mouth-sized doors. Mama, I’m waiting

for the right time to tell you
an unconvincing reason to love me. I expect

you will summon a tender disbelief. A temple
of black-haired yellow boys calling me

back to the table, calling me brother, holding my face
against a hand-polished mirror

like they own me. I don’t know what I expect.
I see how you cherish cleanliness, the so many boxes

full of discarded clothes, toys, old shells. Mama,
I’m silk. I’m thin as canvass. I’m so impressionable.

I’m crawling out of safekeeping
into an unforeseen fragility. Of course I remember

how you warned me. I surrendered many hesitations
before arriving at this wisdom. Pretty as you are, mama.

Tell me what you can about shuttered windows.
Unspool our earliest memories of warmth and we could

share a haunted gentleness. This unsuitable
disposition of knowing too much. Yes, I should be

thankful. I should count my blessings
while they last. I know they won’t.

Mama, the thought of you
knowing is the most faithful monster.

Dark Sky Associations

“Dear this time around, dear secret pronouns.”
Trans Issue 2015