Out of fuckin’ nowhere, my former jazz instructor appears,
crashing out through the back of my closet, chortling aphorisms
about when and how to place the beat.
He snaps, I paint, and (this is the only sign I get it right)
we summon my great-grandmother. Age’s morphed her bat-shit crazy.
She appears in my reflection, tries taking over my body.
I blame it on big pharma; she blames it on the man living beneath her rug.
He’d stay up all night, taunting her with his otherworldly dog
that’d bound in with the stars, fetching her favorite lemon candies
from out the second-story window and back again.
First, a lip smack followed by a warbled drone,
which echoes back, just on the cusp of being discernable,
before dissipating without hope of return.
Time aged the white rug cream, blending fabric and tile
into a multitextural femme fantasy without limit.
Walls melt to floor melt to ceiling, skin, and bones.
I swipe my foot in purrs, rebalancing to jolt contour across my cheek,
and send off dust bowls of white – the swampy air slows the velocity of the fall –
shimmer showers aplenty. The brows are the hardest part.
There’s a holiness behind the beat. I can count the degrees
by which reality’s removed by the number of empty powder containers.
It’s not just some game of glue, set, and color correct,
but a complex of apparitions, undrainable swamps,
and the perspiration of my gender.
Such are the fabrications of life onto my body.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Taylor Portela is a poet, drag queen, and executive assistant who lives in Washington, D.C. You can find their work online at Potluck Magazine and on Instagram @BookOfTaylor16.