Fat Rabbit Thrift & Vintage

Two brooches for the price of lint.

Dolls boxed beneath hung tees.

Blonde & black-haired amputees.

Fifty-cents for a record. I hold Sade

in this slipshod room of other people’s ghosts.

A Black boy faces me across the aisle,

his face pressed to the wilted trees

of an old paperback,

his eyes manganite sequins

flirting behind turquoise specks.

I look at Sade. Dust huddles at Diamond Life’s edge,

& I imagine my mother’s Camaro, 1984 blooming

through the speakers smooth as a curve into the friend zone.

His eyes make my ears ring, the Black boy.

I’ll call him Sundream,

& he’s still watching & sniffing pages,

first breath in a field of orphaned flutes,

a shredded denim prayer slung

across his shoulders, rising temper-brief.

His whole vibe a hybrid genre

of high-art & audiovisual honey

I want to say hello.

but I’ve never seen a mainstream TV show

where two Black gay boys

survive the mid-season finale

& I’ve never seen a movie

where two Black gay boys slow-dance

on anything but graves

so maybe this quiet storm of retro love

songs between us is doing me a favor.

I pull the vinyl from its sleeve, bring it to my face

smell dusty tuxedo locked in an old man’s attic.

I put it back, drop the record, keep my head down

& move on to the VHSs,

wishing I could describe Sundream in a GIF,

mannequin sprung to life only to hark the R&B angel.

He walks past, sweet smell of

brown-sugared ribs furloughed to the hashtag of fashion

& I want him to be the first Black boy I ever take home.

The first black boy I ever undress & stare into like a mirror.


Cover Art by Siri Margaret Stensberg

Isiah Fish

Isiah Fish is a poet & performer from Louisville, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Western Kentucky University & Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he received his MFA & worked as an assistant editor for Crab Orchard Review. Most recently, he attended the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation’s 2019 Writers Week Workshop.

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