this night leaks homelessness from each exit of air.

On the evening before we are handed an extra hour of minutes, I walk toward east fourth street for some poetry. In my teeth, are the dried mandarins that burst in my mouth with each clap of tooth. There is an applause of bites as I eat more until my tongue is too sugared to speak. I walk up the stairs to a bar with more red than in my hair. So many bottles lined up like stained-glass slurs. I order the cheapest beverage with Brooklyn in its name. It tastes like a hangover. One other woman exists in this bar. She is eating from several to-go tins and I sit, accompanied by broken-in red notebook and black pen. As people enter, what arrives as romantic are the dim shadows over faces. Another poet sits beside me and we roll our eyes around each other. In this light, we are both humans. My supper is this room. I want more of some things and push others beneath the ridges of my notebook. Wang Ping walks behind microphone with length of hair like letters from every lover from first grade to this one. So many words in every dark strand clasped together. She says, “Language…like woman…looks best…when free… naked.” And I want to weep toward this image of dialect on skin. Later, I purchase a stale eclair from a cart for an evening performance of drag and disrobe. I think about the ways in which I envelope my gender lately. On this night, I head toward a theatre for women and trans-folk. I make a small space for myself in a corner of small dressing room where nudity replaces handshakes. I bind my breasts in electrical tape and cannot stop fondling the flatness. When I paint my face, I am other. Two humans on this earth call me animal and I like this moniker of blur. These hours of waiting to go onstage are like curious drips of blood falling on my shoulder. I want to wipe all of this away; I want to run toward its origin. Later, I walk home. The glitter covering my face and limbs are my street lights. I follow my glow back to Brooklyn. Home is where hot tea waits for me. And a painter. A musician and bearded poet. I sleep alone, but my bed is full of the ghosts of others.

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