Sometimes I wake as a copperhead weaving night through the window.
They keep a BB gun in the kitchen for me, but I am not afraid
& I am always singing the same song, voice wrapped in satin: Paint the gun black.Let your hands taste ambush.
Sometimes I wake as the window calling the light & the birdsong
back into myself. A beautiful woman stands naked against my frame.
Her face teeming with blush is dew dripping slow
from my name. She closes the blinds when she’s done.
What if one BB weighed as much
as a warm thought in growth, were as dense as the velvet dark?
I think it would become a black hole
& I think you would not forgive me this time.
But when I wake as myself, I too am a sky stretching
his limbs, letting out that first & widest yawn,
the one that can’t be heard over the canon of daybreak-- purple to pink to orange. A strong resolve to blue.
• • •
TO READ MORE POETRY, PICK UP A COPY OF VOL 56 No. 4
ALIYAH COTTON is a queer poet of color from Reston, VA. She earned her MFA from Boston University where she was a recipient of the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net and appears in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Rust & Moth, and elsewhere. Aliyah lives in Charlottesville, VA where she creates music under the moniker October Love.