- On the Night I Consider Coming Out to My Parents
I am afraid, of something I am, but have never named. My tongue isa refuge for secrets. How does one still fear banishment if they wereborn an exile? There's blood on the ground, no time remains so I'lllay it flat: I am Black and Dominican and Bisexual. There. If I die now,you'll have a hint for which god to petition. Sometimes, I look at aman and my hands are already digging into the small country of hisback. In this way, the body is a distraction from what can make thebody just a memory. My lips could bring a man's blood to the surface;my mother raised a curse and gave it her face. I am afraid to belongto another thing, to become still more no man's land. I am a trench;nobody comes to clear the dead. Somewhere, my mother is grippinga rosary to pray for men who look like me. Somewhere, my motheris praying for me. I do not want to give her something else to worryabout. I am quiet, I bury no one, blood is drying beneath my nails,I do not know which me it belongs to. [End Page 103]
JULIAN RANDALL, a queer black poet from Chicago who received a Pushcart Prize, has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT, and the Watering Hole. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as New York Times Magazine, The Georgia Review, and Sixth Finch, as well as such anthologies as Portrait in Blues, Nepantla, and New Poetry from the Midwest. He is a candidate for the MFA in poetry at Ole Miss and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. His first book, Refuse, is the winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry prize and will be published by University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2018.