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.
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—
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.
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
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.
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.