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P
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e
m
s

I know no music for how a country should end.

I no longer want to be pretty for you. Not even for

myself. If I must watch you burn while performing

my own arias, then I will watch you burn with my

throat. If I must sing another world to live, then my

tongue arrives earlier than the final star in this brief

stretch of time called a self. In the classroom today,

another child practices purring. On all fours, she

crawls up to me and presses her hair and ears against

my leg: and it is the truest thing to happen to my skin.

I move back to scold her. She laughs. And I laugh

with need. I needed you, America. I needed to speak

another world into my lungs. This piercing instrument

of my clavicles stretched towards sunrise—they sing

for you my throat phlegming from tar to tongue, sing

for you my lips brushing yours, burning and black.