When You're Trans in the Brooklyn Summertime

It’s hot out already, your shorts
keep getting shorter and your hair
is finally long enough to pull
into a top knot.

A man on the street wants you to know
you woulda been a magnificent woman
if you’d kept your original attributes.
You blow him a kiss and say, too bad.

When you’re trans in the Brooklyn summertime
you and everyone you know arrive late
to the long expanse of Riis beach each weekend
and cram yourselves into the leftmost corner
where you finally don’t have to think
about anything but the aesthetics
of what to wear swimming.
You’re all of you uncovered
to the open air and there’s no need
to look too closely as the light divides
behind the bathhouse ruins
because everyone else is as beautiful
and uncertain as you are.

When you’re trans in the Brooklyn summertime
your roommate introduces you to a total babe
who lives three blocks away
and you hang out like all the time
for the three weeks before they move
back to California because shit
is unlivable here. Really, it’s not just
the rent: one time they spotted cops
driving undercover in an ice cream truck
and you get it: how’re black queers
supposed to cope with knowing
they have no recourse
even against the ice cream guy?

The thing about this city
where you were born and live
is everybody seems to leave it
but in the span of everything,
the fact of your sadness
means something good has happened,
even invisibly,
like when astronomers decide
a constellation is extinct,
and they won’t look for it any longer,
the stars that make up the fox,
the bee, the telescope or printing press
don’t just stop being.

Keep the fireworks they gave you
as they left, called butterfly and flowers.
You can already see their sparks
though they remain unlit: first
crackling with electric purpose
then absorbed into everything else
in the moment of their darkening.