By Ross Gay
You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming
your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck
after a home-cooked meal? Or notice
how the blood on the bottoms of your feet
just won’t seem to go away? Love, it used to be
you could retire your toothbrush for like two or three days and still
I’d push my downy face into your neck. Used to be
I hung on your every word. (Sing! you’d say: and I was a bird.
Freedom! you’d say: and I never really knew what that meant,
but liked the way it rang like a rusty bell.) Used to be. But now
I can tell you your breath stinks and you’re full of shit.
You have more lies about yourself than bodies
beneath your bed. Rooting
for the underdog. Team player. Hook,
line and sinker. Love, you helped design the brick
that built the walls around the castle
in the basement of which is a vault
inside of which is another vault
inside of which . . . you get my point. Your tongue
is made of honey but flicks like a snake’s. Voice
like a bird but everyone’s ears are bleeding.
From the inside your house shines
and shines, but from outside you can see
it’s built from bones. From out here it looks
like a graveyard, and the garden’s
all ash. And besides,
your breath stinks. We’re through.