what I did first was stacked:

learning early how to pocket
quarters and joint wrappers from my dad’s nightstand,
I also began the slow theft.
stacked: names, cash,
cans of beans, loyalties,
tasers, pocket knives, wigs, stockings,
nail polish, candles, rope, pepper spray,
eyeliner, lighters, marijuana,
mushrooms, different flowered
teas, boxes of pasta, crates of
methanol, bleach, batons,
baseballs bats, hammers, and
tarot decks.

I named the loyalties on pieces
of paper and placed them
in the abalone next to
Bastet.
Whispered Oya,
blew three candles out and
drew an R over everything.

the truth is,
at the bottom of my arms’ length
where I keep them
is a stark allegiance;
the things that raised me,
kept me,
grated me and remolded me
like slivers of soap being
made into one ball
and they are right I love being right
and they are right
I wouldn’t miss the end of the world
for anything.
I’ve never walked away from a fight,
I start
my name is Artemis.

I reset the table, one
candle for her.

“Philadelphia”

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