down the golden gallows. We made it to the forever
fantasy where I can’t remember what war we were
weaponing to win: For some secretary sex? Some back-
handed brother? Some sons & uncles & Grandfathers
who forget we have a heart-dream? An ox-blood song? A maiden name?
Call this Heaven,
if all you ever wanted to be was fresh
wind-air. Sisters, call this Hell, rest,
if you never joy-stick’d summer with a honey
fluttering in the wind, with the fish
frying in the heat. Let’s return to the blue inverted ocean,
saying I was raised from Bethlehem & Bethel, as Bitch & Brimstone
wings. I hope I become Fat-hipped women, childed
like my cousins in some decade. Here if not
before. Asking What violence brought us here? Back to another beginning?
Red is a grave I’m not waiting to see the otherside of,
not willing to weapon my peace lilies for.
Only thing I remember, now, was
once I was a heat, a song, a sis who laughed,
a shoreline from niggas with sun
in their mane. There aren’t enough wet shoulders
in the galaxy to explain how much I loved
every day I tried to be possible, & was.
Glory, Glory! Have you ever said home & stayed
there for centuries? Have you ever said peace
& know a country isn’t coming with it?
This poem is featured in the Gothic South issue (vol. 29, no. 4: Winter 2023).
Golden (they/them) is a Black gender-nonconforming trans photographer, poet, and community organizer. They are the author of A Dead Name That Learned How to Live and the photographic series On Learning How to Live, documenting Black trans life at the intersections of surviving and living in the United States. Their hybrid poetry and photography book, REPRISE, will be released in 2025.