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

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