John Whittier Treat
Nearly twenty-five years, still one day, since then
the time when we stood across cold hewn rooms and looked
past what I had wanted (still want) just to see,
I mean steal, that journey of limb and halved-moon curves of
buttock. Now, stacked high above some place far from there,
a room with hot Saint Peter’s light cast through shutters onto a chair
where lay the quick discard of cotton, perfumed damp torn yours,
limbs yes, buttocks yes, youth no: the force of memories
manufactured if not maintained. Was the motion of a body
ever so sure and feeble? The hurling object knows Newton’s Law.
Don’t talk, be quiet. Cupping your hand across my mouth,
some things have to close in order to make more room
for others. My body now: a quarter-century of a place where
I had stopped in wait for all that was coming my way, and it has.
Old things made useful again, so go further and be sure to stay
This is that slap of pain and promise of proof for what was not love, but nearly;
We’ve learned in time that what our blood shares makes us special:
then, now, forever
John Whittier Treat is the author of the novel The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House (Booktrope Editions), forthcoming in fall 2015. His short stories have appeared in Jonathan and are forthcoming in QDA: Queer Disability Anthology (Squares and Rebels), edited by Raymond Luczak. John is currently working on First Consonants, a novel about a stutterer who saves the world. He lives in Seattle. For more information visit johntreat.com
This poem is previously unpublished.