Slowdance

by Shanel Edwards

Every femme i’ve ever danced with 
laces in between the gaps of my teeth. 
glazing hands with nervous loving 
down my sculpted back. 
pressing a memory stain into it
lavender and full, 
moving together 
while Etta sings At Last 
each note, the breaths we 
take between our pelvis.

This is a heaven without cis men.

Femme sternum a stone house 
drowning out the gunshots with heartbeats pulsing louder together. 
femme cups my shoulder blades with both palms. 
plants head full of spirals on my shoulder
we sway, become river waking from needed rest 
queue Ella Fitzgerald’s Cheek to Cheek 
que Meshell Ndgeocello’s Beautiful
this dance
make gravity waltz around my lips. 
Imagination stretched and held up, glimmering. 
this joy real. 
this joy undo the trauma unraveling us. 
this joy births a world without unready caskets
this joy is a cataclysm gutted raw, 
an open door, finally. 
this joy lives without asking 
que Floetry, Thundercaat on bass guitar.
que freedom in real time. 
que rebellion, with a frame, 
drenched in queer sweat. 
que diana ross’s Im coming out 
cunty vogue hands and duck walks. 
a dance floor be romance, resistance and refuge
because here i know that I love 
and that i am loved 
and that i am black, queer, femme and alive
and everyone around me the baddest bitch

and this is a heaven without cis men.

and church is where 2 or more to gather
to praise
so i make an alter at the feet 
of every femme i’ve ever melted into 
for our resilience an 
asterism of queerness 
irreverent heartbeats, 
meteor showers, 
offering.

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