Swoon (Poem)


If no one ever celebrates me,

if I spend my life as the dusty champagne in the pantry—

I am okay with that.

This is a “hoarded joy”[1],

a joy I have taken by any means necessary.

This is a joy I have inherited from God and the Orishas.

It was given to me by sacrifice from those

whose blood rivers the delta of my veins.

A behemoth,

a religion to which I consecrate

all the bones and flesh of my body.

This is a joy that survived in the wilderness

for 23 years, afraid and lonely and angry.

This is a joy that grows in the mud,

endless-blooming lotus flower with infinite seeds.

This is a joy I have named and buried in my womb.

After my mother has gone to bed,

amongst the sirens and traffic lights.

It is still in the early morning hours,

it is idle as I sit in traffic,

it is asleep under a pile of papers in my cubicle at work—

it is thrashing and burning and dancing at the pit of my most centered place,

waiting to emerge in the fury of my dreams.

This joy is my oldest friend and my most intimate lover.

This joy has been reincarnated 1,000 times and saluted every sun.

It will be the final nail in my coffin,

the language by which I will commune with the Divine after I am ash.

It is an ancient thing,

a relic of an old and fabled magic.

I have known how to rejoice in more than my human being,

but my human everything.

I know you have wondered:

Why does the stem of an orchid bend?

I bend because I am humbled by my own weight,

my body is a constant benediction that I will not end.

If the most I ever am is all of the things you are not,

I will not ask myself,

Why wasn’t I the sun?

I will join the company of Moon and her chorus of Cosmos.

I will wait until night, when you can witness how

shadows sacrifice themselves to me.

I am beheld by my relationship to others.

I am gravity and I am song.

If you ever find yourself asking:

Why choose this invisibility?


I am here.

This is my rapture;

I have chosen to belong to myself.


[1] From Rachel McKibben’s “Untitled Poem”


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