Poem 221 ± January 11, 2016

Eduardo Martinez-Leyva

These creatures come for me,
asking that I sing.

Each one strange: bareheaded, pierced flesh,
a tongue cleaved for someone else’s pleasure.

Hungry for flowers, they populate my dreams,
even when I mouthed a dead language

into the clean, celebrated air.
For them, I’d think of doing

the unspeakable, bring my face closer
to their appetite. No prayer in my throat

could make me sweeter. I’ve been told
the easiest animals are the first to bare their necks

for an audience. If true, grant me the will to not be
blood-shy. Give me a flock to feel celestial.

Just this once, I’ll drape myself in malice,
surrender to the season’s error, to the noise

I’ll have a lifetime to revisit.
Give me a lifetime.

Eddie MartinezEduardo Martinez-Leyva’s poems have appeared in Assaracus, Apogee Journal, Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color and Best New Poets 2015 (selected by Tracy K. Smith). He received his MFA from Columbia University, where he was a teaching fellow. He grew up in El Paso, Texas and currently lives in New York City. He is a CantoMundo fellow.

This poem is not previously published.