We come to dance
In six-inch stiletto heels
Hips in motion
Spinning as we ride the swell of a bass drum
Quaking the foundation of a culture
Built on the bones of children they call  “those people”

We come for the disco balls
Glitter makeup and butterfly lashes 
Cheeks cut and high drawn eyebrows
We are painted for the gods
And they will see us even after they place black bags over our heads
Telling us to hide our faces

We come to sing
After they beat us in the alleys for choosing to believe
Water from the Christ and whiskey on ice
Might do better than promises in healing the wounds they give us
And the music we play 
Brings grace to the fray and sews up the torn soul

We light candles 
And remember when they came 
Armed with stones to cleanse us of our “sin” even after
Love has been written on our skin in cherry bright lipstick
They cannot touch our fire 
As the air of “this time” enflames it 

They come with bullets
We come to dance

     - R.R. Tavárez

[This poem is in honor of the lives taken at Club Q during a shooting and hate crime against the Queer community: Ashley Paugh (she/her), Daniel Aston (he/him), Derrick Rump (he/him), Raymond Green Vance (he/him), Kelly Loving (she/her). ] 

Photo by Alexander Grey.