Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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exercise in keeping it all in

I test the waters, which is to say,
I break a fucking coconut over his head.
He asked for it, or he begged. I try not to dwell
in difference. The hair of the coconut, the hair
on his head. What makes a man?
My clean hands, my
white eyes.

Your silence as you lie there holding your head.

This is not quiet.
This is the painting I made while I watched you open a packet of sugar
with your teeth. There was so much white I had to cut the cheeks
out of three different fish
and set each one on fire just to remember

Were you ever the man I asked for.

Your lover came to me in the night
like snow over a burnt field.
I was in your house. I was wearing your son’s clothes.
You fed me steak—too rare—
and I felt wanted.

She ran her cold white hand
through my black hair, said
your mother must be so proud of you.  

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