By Sun Rey
Was there ever a space where my body was nothing but a placeholder?
That when I wrapped my lips around your tongue, the depth of my flesh was nothing but a barometer: certain pigment, certain
Should she do the same, would there be a difference? Is there a difference between two brown queer girls? Or is the space we occupy tied up so tightly by Tiny Minority status that we are fossilized as we are breathing— you can’t tell the difference between a Hindu and a Muslim— I keep hearing you say “oh wow i’ve never met anyone like you!”— you can’t help touching my hair— you spread the baby oil across my bumpy skin with gloves on— i mean—
you saw who i was didn’t you?
you saw who i was you didn’t
just line up the faces i’ve been collecting into neat cornrows:
brown skin, hairy arms.
arab name, black hair.
Let me pray to my many-fingered God
that you didn’t just mean to choose me as a relic.
Papa, Papa, Where’ve You Gone?
He calls me weak.
(He says it because I am not enough like my sister, have never been able to dunk my head far enough in the sand to accept their Ways, never had the head for blocking out the wriggling needs of Curiosity and Kindness.
He says it because tradition is strength and ritual is grace, and respect is Not Questioning these things.
But I falter because he is half-right, just like I am half-done, one foot in one foot out, always teetering on the edge and not fully immersed in anything but my doubt, or as it dresses itself up sometimes, my Contemplation.
Is my core anything but gum? Is he wrong to tell me I could never stand on my two feet? Not because I’ve sold my footpath to Satan, but because I fell to my knees a while ago and haven’t been able to get up since?
Sprawled, sprawling, spread-out girl: only ever floating on the surfaces of the things you beg yourself to sink into. Never rebelled enough, never conformed enough, never taught myself how to be anything but a
half-cooked, edged-out dream
People keep saying you need Strong Foundations to be a good person.
I keep cringing because then I must actually be demonic, and if sin is how it feels to walk on clouds—then maybe I am the winged beast—
maybe you are right,
maybe he is right,
and that is my greatest fear of all.)
My voice shakes when I tell him he is wrong.
I might not be able to touch anything
not the copper-skinned celebrity or movement of the tides or the cacophony of opinion
not enough gravity to move anything but my own tiny sack of flesh
touching nothing but you & you & you & you licking your eyes on this page.
I’ll pack your lips into my pockets as souvenirs.
I won’t touch the sun, that’s for sure, but I’ll probably burn up.
Sun Rey is a twenty-something queer Muslim woman. Her greatest loves are soft palms and the smell of cold and worn plush wingback chairs. She studies Religion and Astronomy at the University of Toronto. She has been published previously in PACE Magazine and the Northern Appeal. For any inquiries, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org