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     for Silvia Gasparini

You teach me patience, send jars of sunlight
that require careful straining. Your children

spin gold from acacia and rose, turn blood shades
into caring sweetness. You did not know me

from either inhabitant of Eden, but still you threw
wide your garden gates and said: Come, taste.

Whence I've come in such condition—my wings
in shreds, hum broken—you took the time to ask.

Now, I take my tea with a fine skim of wax.




AJ's first full-length poetry collection, The Sting of It, was published by Tolsun Books in 2019 and won Best LGBT Book in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.  Their first novel, The Pursued and the Pursuing, was published by DartFrog Blue in 2021 and won 2nd place in the Adult Historical Fiction category of the Reads Rainbow Awards.  AJ holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a full-time English Faculty member at San Juan College.  AJ has been on staff at Strange Horizons since 2012.  You can find them on Twitter and visit their website.
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