Denise woke in the January dark.
It was 3am and a new moon.
She put on a dress for the first time.
Soft cotton, made for young skin.
The fuzz tickled her shoulders
The breeze brushed her legs
She leaped and twirled
Dancing into the deep twilight,
Until her hair had turned to white wisps.
I didn't wake until the sun rose.
Through my bedroom window I saw
Hundreds of people like Denise
Parading through the streets.
I heard traces of their voices
Long after they had left.
I could feel clap of their steps
In time with the beat of my heart.
So on a bright July morning,
Perhaps half after seven,
I tugged my binder over my head
And left my skirt for cargo shorts.
I found I could begin to dance,
One step in front of the other.
Denise hadn't seen a parade.
She hadn't needed the sunlight.
She put on her cotton dress and said,
No more secrets, no more deception.
I follow in the steps she left behind.