You left a box of neckties by Ani Jones

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 
             for you
I lost 
my heart and 
in need of something 
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

             is the first time 
             she has affirmed my non-

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 
         it looks back at me 
she realizes 
         looks back at me 
         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.

Instagram: @anijonez

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