Two Poems

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Issue Thirty-Five, Poetry

autophagy: family

half a percent of baby seahorses survive to adulthood     male seahorses carry the children & lay them on the church steps at the feet of God     my brother & me     we were the children     we had a holy light within us & everyone told my father     you carried such good boys     

when we came out as faggots our father [God] granted us permission to live     God gave my father two daughters & told him to throw his sons away     two boys     a bag     a puddle on the side of a dark road

on my brother’s eighteenth birthday he considered driving his car into a tree     i swallowed a lortab & thought how satisfying to sink into ocean of sleep

i didn’t know seahorses can die of exhaustion in rough waters     their dorsal fins like prayer hands too small to move them anywhere     my brother & i take turns breathing     we take turns checking to see if our pulses make ripples across the water

a faggot becomes christ-like

i wish i found the crucifix beautiful
masc soldiers cut up & killed 
the slender-bodied savior

the church wants us to remember this :
a father shaming his not-fully-man

the more my body glistens like jesus’
the more my father
hates me

the higher he raises my cross
over the church sanctuary
finally i am christ-like in every way

if it wasn’t for jesus
my father wouldn’t have a man
to devote his life to

soldiers lower my slight body
in the dark morning
my father never would have thought

people could find me beautiful

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