O half moon—
Negro, masked like a white...
—Sylvia Plath, "Thalidomide"
There is not enough light inside this poem to
Lie to you. All my poems are in whiteface. Which makes me clean, bearable. Is my life viable. This poem
Is not mine. Every morning I carry it
More than this strain in my jaw. When I recite you my memory does not recite me back. I call out for you
And my mother answers please call
Us back. I am compared to my father. A moth falls from my lamp. Choked by light, by glass. Choke me
Harder. There is pleasure inside
This horizon, bending. These legs sleeping in my bed, they vessel me. Peel him. I taste of lobster beneath.
You peer at me. I am peerless. The best
Of my skin you will witness. I am all bodies like this body—yours to take only if you will have me dark
Enough. As a horse's eyes, like berries I
Rot black in your throat. And I am so pretty with the chance of my blood in the air, these clouds suffused
With a warmth unseen until police draw real guns at me. Remember the boy with a name with a toy gun
In the park. Their imagination kills him.
My mouth is a real gun. My ears warm in
Your tongue. It, too, sang America. Poem, stay with me. Float with me. This white page peels a black boy
In a park. There is no light inside him.
This poem previously appeared in Lana Turner No. 15.