My eyelids crawl over in bone-fed memory
like clock hands. Your lips are the first
to buckle back into the rhythmic tick,
cracked by the wind and opened wide
by childhood’s kerosenic fist, its knuckles
rubbed against your teeth.
I don’t want the poem to be about pain,
but about how we risked mosquito bites
over the pull and tug of the body,
red-cheeked desire bubbling
like a yellow-pussed wound
in our fruitpits.
This is where we say, yes, that children
don’t know how to exist in any other way.
This is where the thick gourd
holding pearls of sweat like an offering
sounds beautiful, where I realize
we are the edge of a tongue short
of breaking the wishbone
when our fingers heat our own stones.
The way your sister’s feet threw them,
faggot dripping foam from her mouth,
and our sneakers kicked the rocks
I mistook for rosary beads
while we ran, lips unstitched from our secret
now streaming salt from your eyes and
the sun burning the sky until it smelled
of rotting flesh and the sticky oozedrip of shame
burning into the flames of hell as I chased
my own tail into the house and every screendor screeched
spyeyed in the neighborhood―one juicy breath into
they’re gettin’ an ass whoopin’ and learning what
a flip-flop looks like when thrown
at a Black back
the fading image of your whirlhip,
the satellite dish dancing violently in the southern wind
streaming a sermon on television,
and, how moments ago,
we babystroked in the expanse of your backyard
tiny mouths around each other like fish
gulping for water,
thinking in separate heat-stroked rooms
about people dying like this.
You buried your reddened behind underneath
a popsicle stick tombstone in the weed-struck backyard,
ants and candy wrappers caked on the dirtbed
of your premature grave. I still hold
flower petals and fly gut in my cauldron of a pocket,
stuck in the ache-sweat of the last-piercing
celloic note. You couldn’t feel it prickle your arms
like an alien probe, but the blood orange zenith
held its tongue on the and. And, they lived.
Sade Collier is an undergraduate student at New York University, hailing from the peach state of Georgia. Their work can be found in Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Garden Literary Review, Prometheus Dreaming, and other reputable platforms. When she’s not writing, she’s making matcha drinks and hanging out with her aries kitten and leo partner. You can catch up with them on Instagram @lol.sade.