The Queen

You stand up there
tall and proud
black and proud
with your nude lace up heels,
cheetah print maxi skirt
with a slit up the side
thick leather belt that
wraps around your black
skin tight leotard
covered by a light beige duster
with big tufts of fur on the collar–
I admire your look
and I admire you even more
after you tell the large crowd you are
68–
and then I admire you even more
as you begin to tell us about your life
how you left for four years
and came back just today
how people had run you out
when they were supposed to have
had your back
were supposed to have supported you
in your darkest, loneliest
most confusing moments
and instead, when you did not fit their
image of the “queen”
(which is what they called you
and you begged to differ)
they pretended you did not exist
and so you asked
(I ask)
what is this then
the program we call
a God-given program?
if we can’t see ourselves in each other
if we can’t remember that we are
all the same
that we all come from the same place
no matter our sexual identity, creed, religion
or lack of religion
and with that crack of your voice
the quavering of your chin
seducing one tear or more tears
out of my eyes
telling us all of your pain and suffering
I heard my story too
and his and her story
and probably everybody’s story
and I thought, well dammit
you are still the Queen
even if you are not in your eyes
but mine
and even if you weren’t or aren’t
the woman we should be bowing to
I still respect you for
being you
and sharing with me all of you
which makes me
a better person–

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