Kelsey Smoot

i wonder if today’s white kids daydream about trap houses
hot combs and grape kool-aid
ass whoopins they never got
family reunions so big and brown and loud
shuffles and slides
linen pants
like they’ve only ever seen in movies
the way i drew pictures of a tire swing as a kid
the one i’d never met
my chubby knuckles gripping the crayon—that repetitive motion
big black circles
round and round and dark
attached to limbs so thick and sturdy
nothin like a switch
nothin like coat hanger
nothin like a power cord
how we all learned to draw colonial houses
know how to escape from quicksand
know what Jesus Christ looked like on his death day with that
porcelain skin and those
baby blues,
his pout and bone-straight hair
like we saw for ourselves
like we really knew it
like we were there

Author Bio

KLSmoot 2022

Kelsey (they/them/theirs) is a PhD candidate in American Studies. Their work and writings explore the process of identity formation at the nexus of race, gender, and sexuality. They are a cultural and gender theorist, a writer, an advocate, and a poet. Having grown up bicoastal and spending the majority of their adult life in a state of transience, they draw from their eclectic life experiences both deep fear and great optimism regarding what people are capable of. Kels seeks to illuminate the experiences of Black queer folks, navigating the contemporary US sociopolitical landscape.