Two Poems by Linette Reeman

As Donald Trump Is Being Inaugurated

a girl and i stagger out of a tear-cloud and shake
into each others’ mouths. there is no one i love
out of necessity, but this is a love hatched under
a sky bursting and marred by flames. a week later,

the joke is still good. we started dating because
a riot bloomed around us. we put down our belatedly
grabbed weapons and kissed while milk was guzzled
by a dozen searing eyes. i mean, if you want to know
who loves you, send them screenshots of what you
are being threatened with. i mean, i’ve seen enough

post-apocalyptic movies to know how this will end.
sooner or later someone i love is going to have to
swallow my location, and even then the enemy might
still find me. i mean i don’t want to exist in
a future where i don’t know who would hide me.
i mean i am not yet asking to be hidden but also

i started mapping the escape routes out of my
house. consider this: a cop’s daughter moves in
with me, and months later a cop tells me there
is nothing i can do to defend myself from him, and

if we were both wearing masks / if the cop’s daughter
has only ever seen me leaving / or coming home or
/ buying combat boots, who is to say i have not
shaken hands with someone who imagines me

bleeding? i mean, who have i eaten a meal with
who has also used my lovers’ names as
target practice? i mean when i leave your house
and you tell me to drive safe, we are both thinking
of how loud my license plates are. how i am too

visible to be alone and pulled over and wrong.
sometimes a cop or a military man comes into
my job and flinches at how my voice and body
do not always match and what if that flinch held

a bathroom door? or a gun? i cannot trust
that people i love are safe unless i can hold
out my glass hands and their breath fogs me.
i mean there is no one i ask to prove what

their care is worth. but a reverse Kristallnacht
swallows the moon and i did not even know
i could run like an animal away from a greater
beast. but a boy finds every single thing

the internet has ever said about me and
tells me how to hide despite. but at the end
of it i tell you i am proud and this also means
alive / or safe / or held / or i would love you

even if it was not this desperate and sobbed
but now, it is. now, Morning drags her feet
across the heavens and we slip into a
quieter reality. now, a co-worker asks how
we know each other and i laugh. you see,
it is a funny story. it is a good joke.

 

Up Close Every White Man in South Jersey Looks Like Richard Spencer

okay, this isn’t technically true

maybe i just mean every white man

looks like they want me dead

“customer service” means i have never

turned down a flirted insult

i know death like a back-row

note-passed / a trans person is

killed and my friend’s friend’s name

disappears from the roll-call

i know worry like a phone call two

minutes later than expected or /

another Nazi / and i won’t call them

something quieter / tells me he wants

my body as a necklace / hung / and

i hear an ex’s belt unbuckling / there is

not a white man who touched me before

i asked who did not also think i

owed it to him for his imagination of

me / i know fear like being fired or

stealing food or my girlfriend runs away

holding a loaf of bread and the joke is

this is exactly like the French Revolution /

shouldn’t we be singing? / but even in

the dramatized fiction they could not save

the sinners / and every white man hears

me laugh and perhaps it hurts him to know

i am alive because the worst is already

in me / and it has been / according

to them i was born awful and fit

only to be wooed into slaughter

yet a song crawls shaky-legged and

newborn out of my mouth and i

have not left my pepper spray in the

break-room since Richard Spencer’s spit

lived in the air / i mean the enemy

of my enemy is just another motherfucker

i won’t let live to piss on my grave /

i mean i sing into my lover’s back

and it might not save the future but

it is keeping us breathing until

another night empties its restless

stomach into the morning.

 

 

***

Linette Reeman (they/them) exists on the internet at linettereeman.net.

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