Everything Should Be Tender

by Calen Firedancing

I’m sorry for leaving the door open but I didn’t
want to lose you all at once. I’ve stacked
up all of these tools that remind me
of you: forks, nailguns, screwdrivers,

(and napkins and sponges—you warned me of
being too soft.) Now every room
in this world is a map of you, every
stretch of carpet a metaphor. I would take

it back if I could. I would never have said
that everything should be tender. But
when you slammed the door to its frame
anyway, I remembered how frustratingly poetic

some things were, and would always
be, like the break of day, or a home-
coming, and I said a prayer
for the meanings I couldn’t control.

Calen Firedancing is a black queer poet, filmmaker, and undergraduate student at Williams College, majoring in English and Africana Studies. Originally born in Los Angeles, Calen now calls Phoenix home when he is not in Massachusetts. Calen is also a Mellon Mays Fellow, currently researching queer possibility in trap music. In his free time, he watches too much film, reminisces of days when he could hoop better, and enjoys the loud and quiet company of loved ones. The following poems appear in our spring/summer 2018 issue.

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