–with a nod to Terrance Hayes

I write to you from the predicament of Blackness.
You see, I’ve been here all my life and found
on the atomic level, it’s impossible to walk through
most doorways. I can, however, move through
walls. I write to you from the empty seat that isn’t
empty, from a tenure-track train to Angola
Penitentiary. I write to you when a feel is copped.
I write myself out of bed. I write to you as the spook
who sat by the door. I write to you from Olivia Pope’s
apolitical mouth. One of us gets liminal every
so often, slides through a doorway like a slice of rye
or pumpernickel into the toaster. Toast is a grain
cremated twice. Once through its skin. Once cross
sectioned. I am here because I could never get the hang
of body death, though its been presented to me,
like one would offer a roofied cocktail or high-interest
loan. I am only here because I started eating again.
I am only here because I am ineligible to exist
otherwise. I’m only here. When your mother went
appliance shopping she had the option of purchasing
my hands. When your boyfriend went out for groceries
he returned with my breasts in a twist-tied bag.
When my name is read aloud, the vowels become
spaces for a man to enter. I’m only here because
I left and returned through an Atlantic wormhole.
In the American version, Eurydice is knocked up
before the viper injects her with death. In the
American version, the fetus is Black. Eurydice dies.
Her death is not physical. In the American version,
the fetus dies, and its death is physical. In the American
version, Orpheus’ lyre is a gun. Eurydice thinks
of doctors, or, rather a cold hand. It feels like one
is sliding its sterile nails over the curtains of her womb.
Once, a healer’s hands passed through my flesh,
and I went on trial for stealing ten fingers. My spoon
scrapes the bottom of a bowl, and it sounds
like a choir of my siblings naming stars after
their favorite meals. Physicists are classifying new
matters and energies. Dark matter, Black flesh are in
high demand, and we never see a penny. I urge you.
If you see a sister walk through walls or survive
the un-survivable, sip your drink and learn to forget
or love the taxed apparition before you.

Xandria Phillips