Sylvia Thomas: Memory Closet

One night, I left my friends, and they wondered where I went. 

I wondered that too.

It was supposed to be another night of being hypnotized by beautiful boys’ and their bodacious thighs while dancing all dumb and doubting danger while dosing drugs and drinking with strangers

But for the first time in a long time I had to stay home.

Stay home and roam in a place that I’ve lived lies and told truths 

Tonight which I confronted

And could have control

Instead of collectively cheering with community 

I came back to my closet,

I came back to wonder why I wandered away

I came back to think 

I thought about touch 

And what it meant to be told you’re good enough with just our fingertips

I thought about drag queens 

demanding democracy and diluting drama.

And giving the damned more damage. 

I thought about Trans women as our death tolls rise like ticks and tocks

We take our time and tell our truth 

I thought about how bold our bodies were 

Bumping and booming to each other’s beats

In a bustling building drenched in our sweat with heat 

I feel baptized. 

I thought about our lovers who leave and live their lives

Not promising a tomorrow or next times

I thought about our past pulling and pushing our people 

In poverty and how it is still our present

I thought about lesbians living life loud and loving louder 

And gay men lusting in a crowd and liberating prouder

Giving us each a bit of power.

I thought about how black and brown really bonded what we know as a rainbow. 

I thought about our first time we met to host a hug instead of a handshake because together we know our hearts are humble homes together. 

I thought about how my closet, 

Our closet 

And how we keep our colorful clothes kept away with our courage

Until you found yourself a key 

Or a person

Or a book

Or a song 

Or an article

Or a magazine

One thing is, one day, something set us free. 

Free from failure to perform perfectly 

Because what they see is wounds of skin

Honey, we were born to be burned in

It shows how everyday I’m flaming. 

My love my sexuality my pride is something I will always be claiming.

That night I left my friends

To make amends with the odds and ends 

I called this a weekend’s cleanse 

The first step 

I placed a mirror in my closet.

And the last step was to be



About Sylvia

Sylvia Thomas is from the Shawnee nation, a writer, spoken word artist, and advocate from the United States of America. Her work focuses on the LGBTI+ community, specifically the transgender and intersex communities. Sylvia works in HIV prevention and provides consultation to many organizations and businesses. 

You can follow Sylvia on social media under the name sheissylvia.

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