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,
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
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
so i make an alter at the feet
of every femme i’ve ever melted into
for our resilience an
asterism of queerness