In A World
“‘false accusations ruin lives’ will become real to me as a counterpoint when factual, highly verified accusations are met w/ any seriousness.”
– Eve Ewing
None of the men will come near me.
I waltz down the sidewalk in my best crop top,
in gym clothes, in nothing but a smile & a raised
middle finger – & am accompanied by a choir
of quiet. A mustached mouth opens, reflex:
I snap my painted fingers & pink ribbon
stitches it shut. This is a new day. He forgot.
They part like seas around me as I cartwheel
through an intersection at rush hour,
bound for no promised land in particular
once certain scores are settled. I stop by work.
I’m late; instead of an apology, I finally tell my boss
I’m not his therapist. His eyes bug out
of his head and roll away. Looks like vacation
came early. I call in free, I call my best friends.
We go where the unhaunted go.
The camo-jacket gold star lesbian eyes
her prey at the gay bar, thinks herself safe.
Gloria Gaynor’s going to survive. I hum along
& from between my lips bees swarm, stinging
the word NO into my enemy’s skin. She runs away,
howling. We take the stage back when she’s gone.
When we have danced ourselves into courage,
we track down our abusers – men & women
& nonbinary folks, queer & straight –
our sneakers, boots & heels are righteous thunder
on pavement marching towards each address.
I drive the getaway car, I guard the door. I stain
a blonde head with blue blood. It’s not just me
wrecked because we met. Not anymore.
The midnight streets are empty, but singing
pours from every kitchen, every bedroom,
every basement on my block. Almost home, I see
a pack of frat boys scuttling back from the club.
None meet my eyes. I yell “BOO!” & they scatter
like roaches when the lights turn on,
terrified into silence by this power I have.
Self Portrait as Rain
Fuck that story of how Gramps
lent Nana his umbrella and she knew
he was the one because I, apparently,
am backdrop. Romantic inconvenience.
Once I tried to drag a cloud
into a drought for three weeks.
I could hear the trees praying, but
I, like you, am a product
of my atmosphere. The difference is
I don’t make an aesthetic out of it.
Fuck your tears.
You think I make
them look nice – has that salt
grown anything lately?
Once I raised yellow flowers
who were named for my absence.
Wait. That was every time. Once
I had patterns I built with the air,
until you decided the poison
you call courtship was good enough
for the mothers that made you.
Once I fell on the same sea for months
and the sailors whose machines bleed
into her body cursed, and their bosses
whose machines spit into my body cursed,
but we danced.
We gave to each other because our atmospheres
made us capable of giving, wind and moon
moving us together until they moved me away
and we said a griefless goodbye
as somewhere else we said hello again.
Swell music over that kind of love.
Femme love. Life-love.
Tell it honestly, for once.
Alison Kronstadt (they/them/theirs & she/her/hers) is a writer, youth worker, and anti-abuse activist currently living in Boston / on stolen Wampanoag land. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in HeART, Cosmonauts Avenue, voicemail poems, and Bitch Magazine, among others. She is passionate about community, pickles, and stories with queer happy endings. Find them on twitter @flalymagee.