(say his name, say his name)
"… felt so bad…I wasn't black” —Yuri Kochiyama
mercy, mercy said the lust that was
brimming all that fall with the world’s
disobedience. I didn’t stake the wall
with clippings (murders, exonerations)
didn’t pile up leaflets, didn’t cradle
trouble—see? dad said, if you let one in….
A thousand times I’d kissed him in my pale
imagination (what I might have, should have said)
but I prayed: Hold me in the hold of your locker.
In the pockets in the jacket of your musk.
He left love notes shaped like footballs in
my homeroom desk: Ain’t nothing like the
real thing. (I loved you, Robert Brantley.)
Was it she who cupped the liquor?
Did his kiss reciprocate? The sister
out of habit in her absence, and
two small people up from desks,
two small people in the back
of the classroom. Not in love.
Not affection. More the other
like a mirror of the spring,
the chestnuts leaning in,
the sticky green of maple wings.
Sawhorses once the boundaries
of their play, dismissed.
Two small people struck with
lips, imitate the season.