in this reality, i am a boy
who kisses his lover beneath
the fireworks — july 4, 2012.
the last girl i wore on my breath
apologizes before calling me
faggot, an observation.
& perhaps this copy of myself
even replied thank you & wasn’t
a ghost sifting in its floorboards;
in another body this is the story
-book ending: this is the ending
where even i come out
______alive —
i want to say i love my mother
like the four-year copy of myself:
my chubby hand open in waving,
catching air, sticky with saliva
& sweet crystalline residue;
how even in infancy i craved most
that which could end or define
me, an unknowing symmetry;
a red serum dissolving & trickling
down my cheek like Styx —
Thales hypothesized that all matter was
composed of water molecules.
i’d like to think there exists a world
where everything i touch becomes
both desire & inheritance; permutations
of a former self; hence, i could absolve
myself this body; & every time
a lover entered me, they could taste
a country on fire: the freedom
to deform,
______& forget —
in this reality, my mother’s liver was,
instead, a drawbridge; her hands were not
minotaurs escaping a burning kingdom,
my brother was not her child forsaken
& crucified, and we didn’t have to beg a
half-sung religion from her ocean-liner
vertebrae, as if they were not the aftermath
of partitioned countries; my mother wasn’t
southern transplant, or daughter
of floodwater; instead, the mountain
forgave the river its dry
-drowning; instead, the bloodied ethanol
climbed up the cliffs of her throat —
say the marrow forgave its captor, bone —
& even that is its own form of shelter;
say a bruise is just a rebellion of blood,
a rupture of capillaries & all the ghosts they
failed to contain & is that not the body
in its primal beauty? what of the self
can evolve without breakage
______of touch?
my mother, in her purest anger, reminds me
of a reality where she birthed me drugless:
the expense___of me being the splitting
of her,___of atom, of umbilical cord stretching
oceans; isn’t the mother___in exile an act of self
-dispossession? i am both___child & ransacked
temple in Her___image, hence___premonition
of flesh, in all its brief___partings; of a lineage
which craves most___its own
______collapse —
what of the body isn’t
an unbecoming —
in this reality, the story unwrites itself:
my lover un-ghosts me after i swallow
confession; the word bisexual unmakes
itself at home in me & i do not leave
my house; the clear liquid runs back
into its bottle like a river might; my mother
is not yet a mountain: the avalanche sweeps
up her body, unlearning & inhaling its anxieties;
she’s a good girl, a good southern girl:
the future grandchildren of my mother’s sentences
retreat to a hypothetical womb; her blessing, not
formed, hangs heavy in the thick air; my queerness
& self-loathing unwind, like DNA strands —
today a white doctor who is, perhaps,
a surgeon, draws a river of knotted blood;
is it in your family history? a red punctuation
mark swelling on my forearm & today i am
my father’s stubborn child; there’s nothing
a bit of exercise won’t fix; even blood?
i wonder but do not ask; tell me about this
history of anxiety & i want to say it is
my blood; my veins, the churches crowded
in the aftermath & is that not desire?
to crave most a coping which un-empties
the body; i inhale my gut & it is no less
a knotted anchor; i am no less stranger
in these waters; i call it southern
hospitality; i practice good manners:
i am teaching myself the slowest way
______to disappear —
i uncork a bottle of liquid galaxies
& tonight i am my mother’s child;
a boy i find pretty presses his tongue
against my front teeth & i forget
myself;___________________i later find
my self___________________alone beneath
the star___________________light & this
is not_____________________the reality where
the boy loves himself back, nor is it
a story where the boy needn’t hate
himself to be worthy of touch —
say the sweet tooth bites back. carnal:
say he didn’t make me swallow his country
& its brief sunrise that night & i cannot say this
is this not what i wanted — to crave most what seeks
to end itself inside of me? what of the self
can evolve without fracture? without man
entering into kingdom, all floodgate & storybook
& tonight i am not my mother’s child, but a boy
convincing a copy of himself this is the ending
desire gifted him: the boy, kissing a parallel copy
of his lover beneath fireworks — in any case, the story
ends in implosion; in any case, the boy is both fuse
______& detonation —
tonight i am a thousand miles north
& i do not call my mother. i do not
smell the ethanol through her phone
-static; i do not hear the same apology
unwinding itself from her breath
like collapsing rosary beads; like allah
yerhama whispered at a wake; but i do
hear her say i love you, you have to know
i love you. & is that not its own funeral
quiet? her hands, kissing the bottle’s rim
______submerging in the absence —
say the sun forgave itself the inevitable
disappearance; say the ocean forgave
the moonlight’s lonesome pull —
say the fluid forgave its captor,
______history —
& even that can be its own shelter;
maybe in that reality, i would be,
instead, child of Thales: descendent
of salt & molecule; everything i touch,
spiraling into a galaxy of droplets,
______dissolving —

George Abraham