Camille Acker



At dawn, we will be transformed. The bodies we came here with altered by our movement, changed forever in time to our song. First, we gather in the dark, but the soft translucence of our bodies catches what light remains. The moonlight becomes our spotlight. We have been waiting for our turn at the stars.


From every corner, we creep in. A plague descending, ancient and primeval, but our bodies are new and small. We are not yet ready for the world. But don’t we all come into this life vulnerable and thin‐skinned? Existence hardens each one of us. We swarm this dark, damp floor just for this—just so we can feel alive. We are riveted by song, the one we sing. We’re calling on our Muses, letting our creation take wing. We cannot forsake our music for one moment. Those who misunderstand the cryptic melody we make with our bodies stay away. We don’t want them close, we have each other. No one makes this journey alone.


This is family, after all, generations of us, 17 years between some of us. If we should die tonight, at least we will have been surrounded by our kin. Some of our bodies will collapse, caught up in the ecstasy of our symphonic movement. We shake out of ourselves, singing still, and leave behind only an empty shell. The shells gather and so does our primal elegy. Those who can keep singing. We have no choice. This is our legacy and it must live on. Welcome to our crescendo.




Camille Acker is the author of the short story collection Training School for Negro Girls. She grew up in Washington, D.C. and holds a B.A. in English from Howard University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. She currently lives in Philadelphia.