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Issue 1: Queering Across Borders

poetry

The Canyon

By Resi Polixa          June 10, 2019

I’m no geologist, but

it is a miracle on earth

How liberating it is to see a border

 

made of water and air

two rock forms on either side

left without words

and gasping

 

How many canyons do I have

under my skin

beneath the surface

 

how many canyons

eroding at what I thought I knew

 

I am 28 years old

and 7400 feet above sea level

 

Beneath my feet

are millions of years of history

containing lifeforms

older than I can comprehend

 

I am at elevation

and when I go into the canyon

I am just as inconsequential

 

Some day too

I will be these bones

I will be in this earth

and water may expose me,

 

but I will fade into the dark

nightly

 

I went climbing down

after dark

and saw my shadow

cast by moonlight

 

It followed me back to the rim

where it disappeared

 

It must have returned back

into the canyon

 

carrying a piece of me

back into the stone

back into the earth

 

Breaking

teleological

geological time

breaking

back into the earth

with every step

breaking in

my soles

 

what does it mean

to be in this body

in this skin

in this space

 

the layers of sandstone and limestone are smooth

yet all layers come to points:

sharp angles lookouts

and switchbacks

 

like the pangs

of a gender heartache

I can feel geography shifting

 

the first time I wanted to be a boy

was on the edge of Plateau Point

where I needed to carve

new places in this earth and impress my soul in it

and you did

 

next time I see you, shadow

I won't ask how you are

I will ask you

saan ka pupunta

where are you going?

 

though I feel like I know.

You went farther back

than I could hike

to a place called Skeleton Point:

 

I want to hear what you have to say

of life and bones

below the surface

Resi Polixa is a queer Filipinx public historian, writer, and community storyteller based out of Lowell, MA. They are the founder of the LGBTQ+ Lowell Open Mic series, and are a firm believer in the power of storytelling to change the world. They have been published by bklyn boihood in Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity, and will soon be published in LOAM magazine. They are an alum of the Public Humanities MA program at Brown, and when not writing, enjoy exploring the mysteries of tarot and experiencing the outdoors. You can follow them on Instagram @resi_ibanez and @sideeye.historian .