The chemistry of ethics I don’t know. I ask
the doctor for the pill. His degree of separation:
our state is a city, our city is a town. His wife
isn’t queer. From his box he talks down.
The monogamy of this physician-patient
relationship strained. The monotony of these
conversations. How my tests
are meant for someone else. How I beg for
blood in vial, not cholesterol, you fuck.
How I beg for an extra layer of cloth.
The ethics of marriage I know. Be good
to yourself. Your body. Our body.
I say it plain. We fuck some.
We make love more.
These are two different things. We come
from a long line of great vanishing. This
anthology is strong. I tell him the names.
Reginald. Paul. Essex. Leon down
the street. My people. There are no mistakes.
I say it plain. Write my name.
I love. I fuck, or I don’t.
I’m good until I’m not.
There are hollow places in us
that are hungry. We know the risk
of not having them filled.
Bryan Borland is the author of DIG, forthcoming in 2016 from Stillhouse Press, as well as the poetry collections. Less Fortunate Pirates (Sibling Rivalry, 2012) and My Life as Adam (Sibling Rivalry, 2010). His poems have appeared in journals including Ganymede, OCHO, Chiron Review, Chelsea Station, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, and The Good Men Project, among many others, as well as in the anthologies Conversations at a Wartime Cafe (CreateSpace, 2011), edited by Sean Labrador y Manzano, and Divining Divas: 100 Gay Poets on Their Muses ( Lethe Press, 2012), edited by Michael Montlack. He is founding editor of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry and publisher of Sibling Rivalry Press. Bryan lives and works in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his husband, Seth Pennington. For more info on Bryan and his work, visit bryanborland.com.
This poem is not previously published.