Dancing in your mother’s heel with your brother outside the door.
the room is a jaw sewn gingerly shut.
& you are nothing more than a laugh
that crackles on the tongue.
Relish the flavor of yourself (for yourself)
Soon you will be swallowed in the silence of the closet’s throat.
Pay no mind to the stale shadows.
Later you will learn to flaunt your delicacies & glitter the concrete behind you
With the broken teeth
of immature mouthfuls.
You are much too tender to savor
The looking glass dutifully watched the yellow boy dance in his mother’s room.
His hair that was not his hair,
was gnarled & matted & glorious
in its disarray.
He darted back and forth
hesistant in his mischief. It was early summer,
so he hadn’t been outside much. He was still light from being closed in
by the winter’s cold and shadows.
He was a tangy, yellow hue.
A honey-colored little sprite.
He had always been so sweet & In the filtered light of his mother’s room,
the light glistening from the gossamer wings
just now blooming from his shoulder blades.
His limbs flopped & dangled. Arms akimbo & then soaring through the air.
The mirror watched, recorded, tracking
Taking it all in,
as much as was possible, given its confines on the wall.
The mirror found glory in the wiggle
Of uncertain knees & the too-loud slap of bare feet
On even barer carpet
The honey-colored boy giggled & coughed & leapt & turned.
The wig made a dirty halo
around his head.
The mirror watched
so intently that it forgot to alert
the honey-colored boy to intruders
Placing all its rapt devotion on the golden sylph,
The mirror forgot to jangle — to announce its old age
& the stomp of other feet.
Feet too quickly on their way to adulthood,
Feet attached to bodies whose hands had forgotten
No, while the mirror watched,
The door creaked open, long & loud.
A tremble of self-conscious thunder.
The honey-colored boy froze in his dance.
The mirror held still
as the light departed his shoulders,
the small of his back,
the smooth calves of his legs.
Tension turned the boy away from his day dreams
& back to the stale quiet of
the here & now.
The former imp turned to his brother,
A little chocolate bar of a fellow.
They looked right past each other.
Their minds drifted with questions,
Thoughts chafing against each other
before departing like strangers.
Because now they were.
The mirror knew that.
Could tell by the look of them,
Not just by the skin — But the
Bite of the lip, the folding of the brow,
the set of the shoulders.
The absence of wings.
The mirror knew by looking at them, that they recognized
each other’s difference.
But the mirror knew nothing of sounds or words.
The mirror was only adept at sightings.
Knew only body, flesh, clothes, make-up.
The mirror saw the tremble of the honey-colored boy
But could not decipher the meaning spilling out from his mouth.
The mirror could only stay frozen.
Recording the quick movements of the darker boy.
The mirror saw how quickly he left the room,
Could only estimate that he was displeased.
The mirror noticed the bulge & then subsequent narrowing of the older eyes.
The mirror saw the tears of the honey-colored boy before her.
Here, in his mother’s room,
The younger one turned & took off his not-hair
& dropped his little body onto the floor.
I am a genderfluid writer, scholar and dreamer. I am interested in critical and creative methods to explore the nuances of blackness, queerness, memory, history, identity and trauma. I recently graduated with a master’s degree from SUNY Buffalo where I studied creative writing and Black literature and cultures. Currently, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin in the department of African and African Diaspora Studies. My work has previously been published or is forthcoming from Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, Damaged Goods Press and P-QUEUE.