She sat in velvet sadness
by Toni Dumais


She sat in velvet sadness, comforted
and persistent to lay basked
in the dark layers of righteous melancholy,
where she undresses her deformity
to be splayed out, and
picked through.

This is wrong,
that is wrong.
What is right?

She tumbles through
this thicket of thorns and vines
only to become entangled
and satisfied. But—

shouldn’t she only climb mountains
with a smile?
Wasn’t that the clasp of garrote?—
Choking on the reflux of
slavery, gagging on suppression—

Pick up your bullshit,
it’s dragging on the ground!
Crying is for pussy’s, and
pussy’s don’t help the world turn faster!

So—she sits
in her slow, dragging
What is so wrong with it?
What if she likes it here?

she is the conductor of
her lamenting orchestra,
filthy in its beauty,
her symphony, rich with its
wines and shrills
of despondency.

Watching her children
tend their business,
unimpeded by the scorn and
the malice of rejection,

she is reminded of what
it means to rewrite the faculties
of her creation. And so,

she drapes this touchstone
with ornamental red scarves
trimmed with gold and
blue and white roses,
framed with candles burning
light, smoke dancing lustful to the sky
taunting prayers.

They spill the water,
she smiles and,
tender hands;
they fumble the ball
there is no shoving,
a reverberating chortle, but
levitates them,
tuffs of praise,
clouds under their chin;
wiping shame shimmering on cheeks.

They work hard to please her, sure,
but they also work, earnestly
towards their own revolutions
of creation.

She plays the piano to the
tone of her growth, and
their growth,
in harmony with the world
in which she aligns
dutifully as a mother and
as a wife. While also,

the dark velvety richness of
her memories, pulling her
willfully back into the soft comforts
of her sorrow—

she climbs mountains
with a smile now,
but only because she
is the one to pick
what scenery she will worship
along the way.