After Mark Aguhar
My knees kiss the bathroom floor, my ancestors' blood hugging the edges of my body. I've been murdered by a man afraid of his own heart. My body splayed like a shadow at dusk. Have you ever seen a trans girl whole? Stabbed, maimed, shot, strangled, drowned, set on fire. I was next on the list. As I lay swallowed by red, my sisters arrive in a blanket of rain, their eyes wet. Soft smiles strung along their brown faces. They lift my arms gently, like wind cradling branches, kiss my cheeks like butterflies. We swim through rays of sun, clouds turn into oceans. The people below me are so small they don't even move. My arms and legs become blades of light, I am a whisper. As we approach, the smell of Bà Ngoại's pepper-seared beef fills the air. I see the blessed ones— the hot fat girls, the hookers, the power bitches. The gender illusionists, the disabled and dis-identifiers— my family. Floating around me like leaves—the girls I had yet to meet: Ava, Kiwi, Jaquarrius, and Jamie Lee. Ciara, Chyna, and Gwynevere. There are so many I have yet to name. Whose names I will learn and cherish. This time, there are no goodbyes. We sing whale-songs, share laughs our skin can barely hold. Our throats are mountains of lost words. We learn the lines of each other's hands, the folds of skin, the tickle of hair. This is our final prayer. This time, we, the blessed ones, are stretched across the horizon. This time, you are here.
Artist Statement: xoài phạm and Art Twink
As trans people of color, we rarely get a moment to play. To laugh. To relax. To enjoy ourselves and each other. We rarely are given relief from the constant possibility of assault. The news that swallows us all year round rings of Black trans femmes being murdered gruesomely. In our process together, we wanted to center joy: the joy of sisterhood, of relationships among trans people, and of love. Our art speaks to the deep love that carries on lineages of trans brilliance, whether our bodies are living or dead.