Kimmo Räisänen CC
All queer suicides go to heaven
after Danez Smith
& the Pulse victims are there, too
& Audre & Sappho & Alvin & Marsha & Sylvia
& the missing generation of elders lesioned
by a government who made them a punchline.
Of course all queer ancestors go to heaven. But
so do the ones who are their own crumbling
& wrecking ball, take their lives
into their hands by taking them away.
The ones who have wrestled the knife
from their attacker’s fist only to house it in the dependable
home of their own body, who have flung open
every cobwebbed closet looking for a reminder
they’re not already a ghost. We’re the
ones who never found safety anywhere
but the trigger of a gun. We’re bathroom stall lunches,
alleyways not quite home, revolving doors & changing locks.
We’re bruises blossoming from sticks & stones,
yes, but the autopsy alleges internal bleeding is the cause
of death, glass shard words implanted & infected. We amputate
the whole body to save a sliver of self still clean.
We’re my best friend who received
so many death threats by the age of 20
she decided to just do it herself.
So yes, we get our own elysium, & here,
we heal in all shades of tell me where it hurts.
I tell you who I am & that’s who I am.
There is no need for the word trauma;
to break is to kaleidoscope, to swing
dance with tender light. Wounds
bloom into buds into gardens,
Why must paradise always be an afterlife?
I’m an atheist but I have to believe in something
softer for her, for us. & I cannot believe
too zealous because then I will be swimming after them,
enough coins sinking my pockets to pay Charon’s toll.
& yet. Here we are, planting lavender
in our scars & it’s not young soil on a grave.
Most days I’m not sure how to stay
when so many could not but maybe
that’s beside the point.
A closet is just a closet.
You don’t need to come out,
you just need to come home.
Emily Long (she/they) is a queer writer living in Denver, Colorado. A winner of the 2021 True Colors poetry prize with Vocal Media & Moleskine, Emily has also been published in Passengers Journal with forthcoming publications in Honeyfire Lit and Indie Earth Publishing. You can find Emily on Instagram at @emdashemi, or more likely, you’ll find them paddleboarding, hiking, and climbing in the Front Range with their partner and rescue pup.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.