You left a box of neckties by Ani Jones and I dipped my hand into the pond of them swimming like fish their spotted tails spilling over dripping cold water onto the table the droplets gathered together like old friends at the funeral our family noticed how short my hair was just above my shoulders still enough for mom to lean into to play with anxiously as more people landed on our front steps looking for you I lost my heart and cut my hair shorter in need of something physical to change to fall in alignment with the intangible truth of your absence my neck was exposed to february’s freezing hands which wrapped around me like a scarf too small so I went to your closet in search of something more kind something that could hold me mom notices tells me I should wear your ties (this is the first time she has affirmed my non- conformity) she must hear me sneaking around late at night with masculinity inviting it in playing with its hair gazing into its eyes in the safety of my moonlit bedroom bathed in starlight in sincerity it looks back at me mom it looks back at me she realizes looks back at me realizes it must love me too realizes my father wouldn’t want me to go cold
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Ani Jones is an emerging poet based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They hold a BA in English from the University of Cincinnati. Their work is featured in the Playful Porpoise Magazine, Irshaad Poetry, and other publications. Their work centers around grief, queerness, and the active discovery of the self and the world.