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POETRY / There Was that One Summer None of Us Realized the Proud Family was Cancelled / Khalypso / Writer of the Month


after Hanif Abdurraqib

& oh, my niggas, by the time we had, had the world lost 
its luster.  you see, either our fathers had never come back 
with the bread or they came home with extra dirt on their shoes 
& our mothers—our poor mothers—either only had one good 
nerve left, or two new  babies to add to her brood of soft prayers 
that a familiar pair of cratered, wooly thighs would soothe 
her babbling worries, & isn’t it enough to know only that much? 
do i really have to tell you what was playing the night almost 
all of us watched our fathers disappear into a bottle, or a second 
job, or the next family, or the dirt? in the dry valley heat 
of our relentless youths, we all saw the last radiant beam 
of light strike our porches & wake the bluejays in triumph, 
before ever knowing what a last chance was, & some of us, only 
some of us, had the good sense to call out to the warmth & beg 
it to return to us in our sleep—when it was ready to sing the joy 
back into our bones—humming the rhythms of our grandmothers’ 
deepest laughs.

Khalypso is a Sacramento-based actor and poet. They are fat, black, neurodivergent, queer, and an agender badass. Their work can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Rigorous Journal, , and Shade Journal, as well as a few others. Their chapbook manuscript, THE HOTTENTOT LIGHTS THE GAS HERSELF, was a runner up for the 2018 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize. They are the 2019 Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate and you can find them on Twitter at KhalypsoThePoet.