I often find myself thinking of the abuses
you could’ve spared if I weren’t blackmaled

at birth—born a shade of brown found in seeds
that grow to be seedless fruits

that fall too far from the tree. Laughed at
for pronouncing the L in fool and hearing the R

in nigga. What a dream it would be
to have your nightmares—full of rainbows

and effervescent suns that misspell their own names.
Forgive me. For not walking as a man ought to

walk. I learned to walk long before I was a man.
I did not know that it was a dance

boys performed to please their fathers.
I learned to walk long before I knew of dancing

or fathers. All that I know was inherited
from the fairies and godmothers that raised me

in your absence, where I soaked up the glittering
sun in the vacancy of your shade.

Even in the path of your footsteps, I never walked
straight enough to be cast in your shadow.

I’ve always been magic – sprinkling fairy dust and
bewitching rings of Saturn to orbit my equator

with the switch of my hips. Every step, a praise.
A radiant song, silently sung. Vibrant as the day

is long. In this light, every part of my thighs
is an invitation to the sun. To kiss and be kissed.

To dance with the sun as only magic could. In
this light, shade finds no home.

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DĀSHAUN WASHINGTON is a Massachusetts native/Dallas resident. He is the 2018 winner of the Robert Bone Memorial Poetry Prize and recipient of scholarships from Winter Tangerine and The Speakeasy Project. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Boiler, Raleigh Review, Borderlands, Tinderbox, Reunion, and elsewhere. Dāshaun is currently pursuing a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.