and it’s always you leaning over to grab the wheel, you saying put that
/ and it’s okay / and sometimes the sky cracks without breaking—
it’s not breaking
. but I couldn’t talk to you even if I could talk about it.
I couldn’t stand for you to know me, to feel how tight this skin stretches
over the sharp corners of my skeleton. I didn’t cry when you laid me out
on that marble altar, soaked red from the blood of everything you’ve ever
had to sacrifice. the kind of boy-saint that martyrs everything but himself:
just everything he’s loved and could get his hands on.

& there’s still room on this, our stone bed, so will you lay down with me?
press a sword into the space between our hips? softer than some things
I could name but won’t because that’s not who we are / not who you made
me. you said forever, but I can only count so high / I don’t know what

happens after midnight. what if the stars shake themselves free from the
vacancy of space? would you tell me?

you know what I mean by that. shaking / I mean, shaking / I mean,
watching the sun implode and not running, just admiring the new sky up
close. salt and the scent of ozone. but in this version of the story, I’m still
on the altar. I’m still waiting to find out if I can carry a violet sun inside

me. you taught me to immolate myself for the smallest things: I mean,
burying our bodies in the garden / trying to grow roses.


Something I’d Lie About


And it wasn’t supposed to be like this, but
now this is all you have: how you’d argue
until the car spun off the road and couldn’t
hear a sound over the shouting but how
you’d still feel the impact. and so you can
stand it, you want him to tell you that he
likes it like this: prying open the sky with his
bare hands every night to check for further
breakage, but he doesn’t. neither do you.

Sometimes you think that if you mention
the gaping cracks in the roof it won’t support
its own weight anymore. & you both know
it’s no way to live—knowing that the sky is
going to fall one day, but trying to save
yourselves by not naming it—but waiting for
it out of the corner of your eyes, like all those
shadows in the mirror you saw as a child.

And if you’re being honest with each other
for once, you’re both still afraid of the dark.

So you stack all those bodies back in the
wardrobe to rot. you don’t have time to bury
them again. the skies are bending right above
you, weighed down with a sin heavy enough to
almost grace the earth. you wanted to love

him in a way that didn’t hurt & now you know
that isn’t love at all. sometimes, you still want it.
Meanwhile, all the blue in the world is burning,
even if you won’t look at it.

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I don’t know if it’s the historian in me, but having people explain their personal and cultural customs, and then explaining the thought process behind those customs, I found was a really fascinating & unique look at mindsets and community.