the river: lynchburg

i found home

btwn the blue ridge & the river with a boy’s name

my apartment housed the remnants of an old lover    

     hanging by his wrists on the walls

     covering my mouth when i try to sleep

     i want to say so many terrible things to the men

                                                                        who linger

when you visited     we stood at the island’s edge

the city a tiered series of crumbling brick

you said     i love ruined things     then squeezed my hand

     & watched the brown blood from my fingertips

     sink into the soil    

that night you pulled my hair   

     & shoved     your fingers in my mouth

     i need you to want me this way     but you won’t

     move me like that for six more months

     i am trying to remember how to miss you

i love the ways a ghost vanishes     try to feel my red & blue body

but fall through me     finally see my broken kidneys

& heart aged by grief     throw yourself into the ruined animal    

cast the ruined animal into the river     & see how nothing can stop you

dad & son

i will never be the son my father wants

     * he says his life sucks now that i’m a faggot

     * he says i am ungodly

     * he says this could have been avoided if i played football

i’m not trying to live a perfect life

i pierced my ear     i pierced my nose

my parents believed reading vonnegut caused demonic night terrors

i went to christian university to learn how to be good

they said only God is good

after twenty years of church i pierced my hand at the altar & drank blood from the chalice

i will remember the son my father lost when i became a faggot

i will remember who i was before my father forgot me

what is more masc than fucking men

i think all men are born good

we are covered in our mother’s blood from the beginning

we do not know sin

we know nothing but the film casing our eyes & our mother’s breast

boys are not born with a bud in one hand & a dick in the other

boys are born crying

autophagy: liberty university

octopuses have been eating themselves when they’re stressed     scientists believe they are attempting to free infected tentacles     or     the animals may have contracted a neurological virus      at christian college in lynchburg i learned i was sick w love for my own kind     in therapy the pastor called me a disease     a paper’s breadth from faggot     God wants to heal you he said     won’t you let him

i considered driving my car into a tree off 501     my best friend stood at the edge of a campus bridge over 460 eastbound     another walked train tracks hundreds of feet above the james     a boy thought to throw himself off sharp top mountain into the eye of the sun

sometimes the infected octopuses die     sometimes the bodies are found in tide pools

maybe the trees & the mountains looked too green     the people in the current of cars too precious     maybe God knew what he was doing

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