At the Grave of Patrick Kelly


I want my clothes to make you smile. –Patrick Kelly

Blazing star, a metrocard, chrysanthemum, a pot of mint.
Your epitaph is legible and clean.
Clothes ruined, bitten by bed bugs, I’m thinking of flying back early—
but not before kneeling here to express my gratitude.
I ache to scorch the catwalk in your dress of Corvette red kisses
like Roshumba Williams flaunting her natural hair.
I’d never seen couture like yours, colorful, buoyant, and sage: 
Don’t be sullen in sweet air. Strut, cry your buttons. Twirl, cry your bows. 
When I was young, I’d spin an antique globe my mother bought for me 
from the thrift store and where my finger landed was the place 
I could be happy. You, too, gave me a world to imagine 
without dullness or ignorance. On this tenth day of the tenth month, 
I promise to return properly with a gift. I won’t get lost again
between Ingres and Mugler in Division 50 of Père-Lachaise.