Friday, November 22, 2019


By Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


By Dolly Parton

The hills were alive with wildflowers
And I was as wild, even wilder than they
For at least I could run, they just died in the sun
And I refused to just wither in place
Just a wild mountain rose, needing freedom to grow
So I ran fearing not where I'd go
When a flower grows wild, it can always survive
Wildflowers don't care where they grow
And the flowers I knew in the fields where I grew
Were content to be lost in the crowd
They were common and close, I had no room for growth
I wanted so much to branch out
I uprooted myself from home ground and left
Took my dreams and I took to the road
When a flower grows wild, it can always survive
Wildflowers don't care where they grow
I grew up fast and wild and I never felt right
In a garden so different from me
I just never belonged, I just longed to be gone
So the garden, one day, set me free
Hitched a ride with the wind and since he was my friend
I just let him decide where we'd go
When a flower grows wild, it can always survive
Wildflowers don't care where they grow

Friday, November 8, 2019

my miracle now

By Anita Jeffries 

or i swear i’m gonna burn this motherfucker down.
doctor don’t think i’ll do it. he say real
girls like boys. you sure you real?  he say he use
science, but i know he a witch. he say
hormone pills take first-borns, second-borns,
every spark after. if that ain’t Rumpelstiltskin
type shit, if that ain’t twisted white magic
type shit then call me barren. call me
fish. call myself easier to find
in mirrors. sperm banks can save kids
for a price. they sterilized black girls once. still do.
get caught dreaming. i’m broke. pills ain’t cheap.
i walk outside to breathe. men call me tranny.
i necromance my dead and buried name.


i unbirth my bright and pulsing name.
i unopen. a boy armors my
receding skin. pass like my yellow great uncle
down south. bite down. the family tradition
pools on our tongues. inheritance. sheep
in wolf’s clothing. find a predator’s corpse.
wear its skin. sharpen our herbivore teeth. howl.
hope the cis don’t find us. hope the whites
don’t find us. hope power don’t smell
the undeniable prey in our blood. at least
women won’t shield their children from the sight
of me. at least men won’t chase till no home
is mine. at least packs of boys won’t tooth, claw, prove
they’re strong, i’m unwanted, we are not kin.


they’re strong. we’re unwanted. we could be kin
if they didn’t do you like Dead Black Trans Girl
Number— a therapist told me it’s “not healthy”
to keep count. light protection candles.
flames lick my fingers raw. wax builds
on altars. the girls’ good, yellow light goes
missing by morning. prayer is a scam.
the funny men make tranny jokes the day
she dies. somebody made a hashtag.
where’s my black girl magic now? if sorcery be
make me dark spell, necromance sisters
from dead-named graves, magic a murder of girls
ungone, crown me lich matron, undying,
make me real and mother to some good thing.


imagine me, real and mother of some
good one: my reflection, simply mine.
the boys still ain’t shit but now i get less
death threats around my block. the gender reveal
party happens after my kid lets me know
what their gender is. the party is lit.
like candles on an altar. i burn
my fingers lighting my child’s favorite cake.
i ask, what is your wish?  they say i wish
you stayed unreal, chose me. flames melt my child,
my body, and everything i love to nightmare.
dream home, and all its light will be
missing by morning. smoke’s surrounding. i’m
swallowed whole, grasping for my almost-child.


swallow the hormone pills whole. almost-child
is gasping, desperate for first breath. i told dad
i’m queer. he said he really wanted
grandchildren. once, i really wanted
a father. this isn’t healthy. i keep count
anyway. a murder of girls caws
at my altar. i keep on raising my dead
name so i don’t join them. magic myself
smoke, bleach: my good yellow undone. men still
call me tranny. we could’ve been kin.
we twisted up in white magic then undone.
great uncle wore wolves’ clothes the day he died.
i might too. i need our miracle now
or i swear i’m gonna burn.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Portable Paradise

By Roger Robinson 

And if I speak of Paradise,

then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.