HOUSE OF DINAH Dec 9, 2016

by Michelle Peñaloza

Child, what could I say to you
so that you would understand?

This is and is not for you.
Now you say you're lonely.

You've cried the whole night through.
You are invited, of course, but

make no mistake: this house is our house,
not yours. A family is a hierarchy,

a house of strength and knowledge, past and present.
You think you know something? Do you

know your way in and out of the world? The storm
outside ain't gonna go away. This bitter earth

what fruit it bears
. The president won't be your savior.
You need queen mothers—no shit and all riot.

Here we are. Within this mystic diner of our own making:
drink the whiskey of our own made milk.

Child, what could I tell you about being
black and queen and faggot and survivor?

What a difference a day makes. Find your own
answers on this runway—work the floor—duckwalk,

catwalk, spin and dip yourself back to yourself. Fuck
the storm outside. Dinah, diner. We eat kittens

like you for diner. Take a melody in your hand—
you're not ready, are you?—hold it like an egg,

crack it open, fry it, let is sizzle and then
piece it back—yolk and shell and all—

back into the carton and into the fridge.
Is you is or is you ain't ready, baby?