Sauce on the Side
By Randy James
after Terrance Hayes
I come from a long line of speakers in tongues
flaunting high top sneakers and price tags flopping
new fitteds. I graduated from a school of sighers
and teeth suckers; oh boy-ers; from Royal Crowns
and flour tortillas, from the annals of daytime
television I tumbled out the dryer, a warm tangle
of sweater sleeves. Born afraid of nothing, I
inherited a wedgie of melancholy before my first
orgasm. Yes, rubbing it out rubbed it in. I come
from a long line of Pine Sol users and Vicks
Vaporubbers, of olive oil anointers, of Catholics
cum Apostolic. I fought pods of Alabamian sperm
to ova Panameña for this moment. My parents
were writing themselves when they started writing me:
a dime store Pulitzer. The Western world says I possess
the strength of two men, so the surveil. The hot barrels.
The hot takes. They say I am savage, an animal cracker—
dip me in milk, hope I’ll dissolve, fulfill the promise of
your Oreo. I come from a long line of clothespins and sky
hammocks. Instead of a stork, picture an angel with the trots.
I keep corymbia citriodora in the hand of my palm.
I come from a long line of thwarted entrepreneurs,
bundlehouses and made ways. I come blessed like
cocolon, Caesars fresh out the barber y platos de arroz
con pollo from corner bodegas. I am part flamingo,
part Black Howler. My conception was not immaculate.
My cosmic mother’s name is Tea Tree and my cosmic
papa only knows his drag name: God.