Prayer

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.