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Two Poems

Ian-Khara Ellasante

turn to sugar Diana

Diana you turned 
Diana you stay turning
Diana want me to stay     while she do all the turning


Diana want me to say
turn to sugar baby    come back
Diana want me to stay    turning to steel


Diana you stay        turning your own way
       on your own time        Diana girl
turning your face


Diana still turning        into her own girl   still
       be honest
           the same girl   been there       all this time
       yes    i know        damn Diana  stay turning


Diana could you   girl                  just pick a side
Diana you stay     looking out of the mirror  telling me
                                circles ain’t got no sides

Diana want me to say
            sweeten your orbit  girl
                turn this way         this time 
        turn to sugar     baby come back


Diana want me to stay              while she do all the turning
               Diana swear                   i’m turning to steel
               Diana think i can’t      come back


on forgetting Diana when i cannot see the moon

the northern mountain soaks up night like ink
until there is no discerning where a mountain ends

                                 where a night begins

                        like Diana and me    after a time


              one thing happens

              then it happens again        in another way
like river water   and river water a second later
like lunar revolutions   like Diana   and me   like night


we are both   beneath the same spring sun
sunk deep into desert dust   both            and i am

                    already gone   but with so much work to do

                    all this forgetting ahead of me


               forgetting rivers     streaming

down risen plane of belly      spilling over rim of eye

forgetting moonlight            flooding silver shrouded sky


forgetting round flesh          until only scattered bones remain

to parch and dry                  to blanch in desert days and years                     where the abandoned spread like time


the owls start naming the night their own    i hear one

snatch a ground squirrel from its life

               it cries out at the clench        the surprise
            and i imagine fur and talons    bone and flesh


                     where the other ends

               the serene fleet wings of night
i remember the fragile breath     the surrender

the fleeting heartbeat of the hunted and hunter

                              all the same

Ian-Khara Ellasante (they/them) is a Black, queer, trans-nonbinary poet and cultural studies scholar. Winner of the 49th New Millennium Award for Poetry, Ian-Khara’s poems have appeared in We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, The Feminist Wire, The Volta, Hinchas de Poesía, and elsewhere. With abiding affection for their hometown of Memphis, Ian-Khara has also loved living and writing in Tucson, Brooklyn, and most recently, in southern Maine, where they are an assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies at Bates College.

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