Ian-Khara Ellasante.jpg

Two Poems

Ian-Khara Ellasante

let me tell: you Diana

i’m tired of fighting you   Diana

         about the stories we will tell

about who you say you are      still

           girl you    or still me   no

Diana listen

girl you    gotta let me    

         let me go  


thinks i’m trying

thinks i’m eager

Diana   let me tell you               i ain’t


         which is the better question

                        no     girl you   get real

         ask the easier question 

                 which is more:   

             how much we are      or

             how much we are      not the same

             how nothing and everything is

             boy       and and or or      girl     you

             are nothing and everything    you

still the same                Diana listen

girl you   turning     boy

shake him loose or

                         shake me loose    Diana

         loose of girl         and        loose of boy


girl you     gotta let me    

          let me go  


thinks i’m crawling toward his face

thinks i’m spreading my shoulders 

into the corners of his broad back

Diana  let me tell you               i ain’t

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

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.