In Queer Memory by Sade Collier

My eyelids crawl over in bone-fed memory

like clock hands. Your lips are the first

to buckle back into the rhythmic tick,

cracked by the wind and opened wide

by childhood’s kerosenic fist, its knuckles

rubbed against your teeth.

I don’t want the poem to be about pain,

but about how we risked mosquito bites

over the pull and tug of the body,

red-cheeked desire bubbling

like a yellow-pussed wound

in our fruitpits.

This is where we say, yes, that children

don’t know how to exist in any other way.

This is where the thick gourd

holding pearls of sweat like an offering

sounds beautiful, where I realize

we are the edge of a tongue short

of breaking the wishbone

when our fingers heat our own stones.

The way your sister’s feet threw them,

faggot dripping foam from her mouth,

and our sneakers kicked the rocks

I mistook for rosary beads

while we ran, lips unstitched from our secret

now streaming salt from your eyes and

the sun burning the sky until it smelled

of rotting flesh and the sticky oozedrip of shame

burning into the flames of hell as I chased

my own tail into the house and every screendor screeched

spyeyed in the neighborhood―one juicy breath into

they’re gettin’ an ass whoopin’ and learning what

a flip-flop looks like when thrown

at a Black back

the fading image of your whirlhip,

the satellite dish dancing violently in the southern wind

streaming a sermon on television,

and, how moments ago,

we babystroked in the expanse of your backyard

tiny mouths around each other like fish

gulping for water,

thinking in separate heat-stroked rooms

about people dying like this.

You buried your reddened behind underneath

a popsicle stick tombstone in the weed-struck backyard,

ants and candy wrappers caked on the dirtbed

of your premature grave. I still hold

flower petals and fly gut in my cauldron of a pocket,

stuck in the ache-sweat of the last-piercing

celloic note. You couldn’t feel it prickle your arms

like an alien probe, but the blood orange zenith

held its tongue on the and. And, they lived.

Sade Collier is an undergraduate student at New York University, hailing from the peach state of Georgia. Their work can be found in Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Garden Literary Review, Prometheus Dreaming, and other reputable platforms. When she’s not writing, she’s making matcha drinks and hanging out with her aries kitten and leo partner. You can catch up with them on Instagram @lol.sade. 

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