Ghazal for Crush Lipstick

by Alyx McCoy




Go ahead, mask these lips. You can never shake gender.

Wet these lips red, bloodthirsty, to better slake gender.


Dress us up like graffiti, like hieroglyphic smoke

curled up inside a phoenix feather. Wake gender.


Bend it over our lap, so it cries out our names,

billboarded, so no eyes can ever mistake gender,


ur playground, ur cathedral, ur Garden of Eden—

tho banished, you still remember snakes. Gender.


If not for joy, let it be the architecture of your grief.

And if a battlefield, never surrender. Break gender.



Alyx McCoy

Alyx McCoy is three years out of Clark University with a BFA in theater. Alyx got started as a writer and performer of slam poetry at the Dirty Gerund Open Mic in Worcester, and has since moved to Boston making a living, here and there, as a teacher or—more often than not—a server in some diner or other. Mostly, they write about complicated relationships to Cuban heritage, or else the view from their porch, whenever they can slip in the time.