before her casket

Read this in Spanish

they spoke to me of hell
before her casket
the white roses listened

in life no one would have dared
abuela would have insulted them
with a thick sigh

she protected me
they were too scared of her
and she, my only faith

my best friend covered my chest
her flesh-and-blood x
a queer shield
lessened the shock
of my paralyzed throat

no activism
could save me from the blow

it takes a coward
it takes a coward, Alex
it takes a coward

I wanted to mourn
and they, to snag me back
kiss me on any given Sunday
call me little sister
touch my shoulders
knock me to the ground

“Purify me”

I take no interest
in purity’s curse

“Save me”

salvation is a pamphlet
I’ll spit on their pulpits
while I still have living

pain is a tunnel
I’ll never escape
if I forget the rage
of every kiss in the dark

soundless grimace

I escaped but sometimes it finds me

it shows up at my abuela’s funeral
sits beside me
doesn’t care about my sore
feeds it
and the pastors stare

from their cults
their services
I run without knees
seeking pain I need
to forget the blood

baptized in glitter
I release an orgasm

the Church flooded the funeral home
my friends brought me buckets
and thanks to them, the dirty waters
don’t touch my feet

Alejandra Rosa is a nonbinary afroqueer writer, performer and mover. Child of a baker, and grandchild of Doña Sarah, their work has been published in the New York Times, Time Magazine, 80grados, and revista étnica, as well as in the anthologies Sanaré (Editorial Étnica, 2022) and Ese lugar violento que llamamos normalidad (La Impresora, 2022). Winner of the Gabriel García Márquez Award for Cultural Journalism in 2019 and 2020. Author of Levadura (La Secta de los Perros, 2022). Member since 2022 of the antiracist dance-theater group Danza Orgánica. Simultaneously, they are pursuing a doctorate in Afro-Performance y Literature at Harvard University. // Alejandra Rosa es escritore, performere y movedore afrocuir no binarie. Hije de un panadero, y niete de doña Sarah, su trabajo ha sido publicado en el New York Times, Time Magazine, 80grados, revista étnica, así como en las antologías Sanaré (Editorial Étnica, 2022) y Ese lugar violento que llamamos normalidad (La Impresora, 2022). Ganadore de Beca Gabriel García Márquez de Periodismo Cultural 2019 & 2020. Autore de Levadura (La Secta de los Perros, 2022). Desde el 2022, forma parte de la compañía de danza-teatro antirracista Danza Orgánica. Simultáneamente, estudia un doctorado en Afro-Performance y Literatura en Harvard University.