Ishmael – a poem by Lucy Frost

And I, as well, have walked among these galleries.
I, too, have walked between the word and flesh, almost
Unknown, like you, and almost chosen– I, also, saw
Alternatives spelled thick in sparks and ash, and
When the rooms were throbbing with a better life,
I, too, could stand aside and say I was not pampered,
Was not loved; the striped and sunny rooms I may,
But for the burning thing that called and cut me, the rooms
I may have spent myself inside– the thrill of being
Somewhere, being home, of windows and cigars– and I,
I too, was walking once– and I was stopped beneath
The terrible red wing, the dripping flight, the substance
Of the stars that branded nations by my mother in the night.
I, too, have tumbled through those empty rooms,
After the soirées and their starry gowns have swept
All but our dust beyond the sills– and I was here to mark,
In scrolls of paradise and oxhide, that there is glory, too,
In being last of all– the song of one whose steps contain
The city at its peak, who sees the gleam at each horizon,
And who lifts her tone in blazing particles to be again
The night an angel filled the forest with its terror and its song,
The night an ancient thing unbound itself in time and spoke,
And said that I, too, am a wanderer, and scale myself
Unto the city’s eye– even in sleep, to scale my living
And my night, to scorch my aim in ecstasy, and be
The fellow marksman, with my brother, of the dance.

Lucy Frost is an Arabic-American transgender woman poet from Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Serotonin Magazine, C*nsorship Magazine, Wrongdoing Magazine, Melbourne Culture Corner, and Unpublishable Magazine. She can be found on Twitter @intomymachine

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