The Fall

To the first girl I ever kissed,
I’m sorry.
I shouldn’t have, but
the rum and Coke tasted so good
on your tongue.
I’m sorry, too, that my hands were not soft
against your skinny calves,
crossed at the ankle,
folded like a paper fan.

To the first girl I ever fucked,
I’m sorry
that I was so drunk, so sloppy
against your skin
and that I hadn’t had much practice.
Thank you for being so patient.
In the end, I didn’t really mind
the taste of your blood in my mouth,
as sharp and as sweet
as the breaking heat in Jackson, Mississippi
on the first day of fall.


I think I have it figured out, now. I
wasn’t ready to be born, but
born I was.
They cut me out of my mother
like a tumor,
fat and wet and white, like my father
who was also a tumor,
a round tulip bulb that I wanted
to cradle with my palm.
My father,
who could juggle elephants, fling them
into the air like so many red and purple balls,
could catch fire flies in one big hand
and hold me up in two.
I was not ready for him
to be born unto that other realm,
Do you see what I am saying, sweet man? You
are a replacement part, a surrogate. Your hands
are his hands. My love is recycled.
When we lie together, skin and limbs locked,
you pressing into me, I am really trying to press back
inside of you, trying to plant my body inside of your womb, trying
to be unborn,
dialed back in time to
try again.

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