So I guess that’s my name now
I am progress
in the way a scab is progress
and this is what it is to be biracial
conceived as a thin peace
the body’s fragile truce
to each well intentioned finger
my body is just a precursor
to an unremarkable red

People ask what are you?
and my skin parts
eager to answer
what my mouth
can only rehearse
everyone falls in
curiosity killed the gaze

In this way I am something sinister
a shadow cast by a name
in the right light I am technically everything
I’m nobody’s ideal horizon
I’m nobody’s ideal
I’m nobody
or too much of everybody

I’m a kind of excess
a gold chain greedy for the light
a fat shiny river around the neck
in this way    I begin everywhere
and nowhere

I speak no Spanish
I mumble     every word
is a translation for exile

I make up for it
I throb near oceans
I speak inheritance fluently



Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. He is a 2016 Callaloo fellow, Lois Morrell Poetry Prize winner and the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. He is also a cofounder of the Afrolatinx poetry collective Piel Cafe. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offing, Winter Tangerine Review, Vinyl, Puerto del Sol and African Voices. He is a candidate for his MFA in Poetry at Ole Miss.




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