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  You could have a big dipper   

Coruscating Flame of Dedication by Peach Delphine

My mother asks if I've prayed, still

with deadname on her lips,

if by prayer

she means dicing onion, celery

bell pepper, sausage, smashing garlic

setting the iron pot on medium flame,

making of a tradition not mine, a meal,

then yes, such is my prayer, litany

beneath a voiceless sky, abomination requests

no mercy, makes no supplication, walking

down the street, neighbors eyes, flat

as whetstone, slurry of blade

dripping from their tongues.

Pressed against the wire honed

off edge, it has always been so, one

split into three, into seven then thirteen,

splintered, riven, the self of pine

shaved down into feathered curls

anticipating flame, not yet, not yet

exhaling smoke or soft words of ash.

If by prayer

she means an iron pot, smoking with roux,

or the making of each day, hands scarred

by flame and blade, what becomes of the unseen, rind

without condiment or salt, what becomes

of the unspoken, breath languid as cypress,

thick ropes of moss floating over blackwater, darkness

seeping from our bones.

Survival is just more of the same,

blade never quite worn away, empty

bucket of mouth, gasping at humidity,

hands flowering with making, moss

holds evening light, wing of spoonbill,

smooth curl of conch spiralling into the sound

of wave sloshed on sand, memory is not linear,

flame making tongue, word making sea, moon making shell, if my name is unpronounceable

yet again from a palate hardened

by indifference, of what use prayer,

always stir with a wooden spoon,

never walk away from a roux, darkening

in the pot, the making of a meal is the making

of a name, the loss of a name is the loss

of a shell on a beach where sea repeats

it's litany, day after day, if by prayer

she means how black skimmer inscribes

wave, the moving surface of all

that remains unsaid, then yes, yes again,

such is my prayer.


Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Twitter: @Peach Delphine

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