1.

 

You: mailman

Me: an orange

 

Juice me with your mailman thighs

Make me pulp citrus quench queen

Mat the hair curling out of your short brown shorts with sticky juice

Slosh me in your cupped hands

Your cupped hands whose fingers could have ripped open so many secrets

Whose fingers sting with paper cut

Let them sting a while before slurping me down:

I am vitamin C

I am not a cure

Your body will parcel me out

Get rid of the rest.

You were never much into piss play

But you’ll let me sit in the toilet a while

Before flushing me away.

Zip up your shorts

And feel what is left of me on your thigh hairs,

In your capacity to be well,

And the stinging of your finger tips.

 

2.

 

You: thumb

Me: forefinger

 

We both point in different directions

Me forward, you back

Sometimes so much so

We cleave the web skin between us

Split and crack brittle paper.

Let’s rub ourselves smooth with worry instead

Show the world we’re more than arch, loop, or whirl.

Together we can make an A-OK

Sometimes my inverse as an occasional bedfellow

To make it that much less wholesome.

I forget we are of the same blood

We try to feel each other’s heartbeats

Which means we try to feel our own

The trick is to press without pressing—

Hold without withholding—

And breathe.

 

3.

 

You: milkmaid

Me: a butter churn

 

This is our most misunderstood role-play.

It seems easy at first,

You to pump me up and down

But it’s more complicated than that.

We are in a historic house museum, it’s 2018

There are no cows to be made milk

For butter or worse

You laughed the first time you told that joke

But 127 tour groups later

Your laugh is as empty as I am

As I’ve been for two centuries.

Your milk white skin now caramel at the end of summer

I watch you change out of your apron

Into blue jeans for the last time

And peel off in your boyfriend’s Camaro

Off to school for good.

You touched me once

Even though the curator told you not to touch the objects

The oils on your hand sped up my slow decay

And for that I thank you.

 

4.

 

You: picnic

Me: watermelon

 

But first would I were the damp earth

For some green thumb to push into

Make me moon with craters

Set inside the seeds I saved in my mouth

To savor the way they sprout into and root out of

Cross vine over limb

My fertile crescent cupped here

Scoop out with paw

Split pulp kidney-red slush

Dig in and scrape the rind with your nails

Mirror the stripe outside

Sing the praises of slurp and gush

Squirt between teeth

Too closely spaced to spit out seed.

Don’t wipe your lips

Leave your smiles sticky

For me.

 

5.

 

You: me

Me: somebody’s else

 

I never meant to write us an elegy

But I did. Sorry.

You’ll have to perform acts of self-desiccation

Make yourself like a canyon without its river

And wait for it to rain.

This may not seem particularly erotic at first

But you will never feel so much

As when your skin sits this close

To your bones. Wait for it to rain.

I can only guess at the next part

But, know you, although some new river

Will soon flow through your canyon

It will follow the course of your old river,

At least at first.

Wait for it to rain

And when it does you will once again

Feel that fleshy swell.

 

I promise.

Tyler organizes Queer Cookies, a poetry slam and bake sale supporting queer-identified poets. He currently lives in Washington, DC and has work in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry and Beech Street Review.

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