Samuel J. Fox

p o e t r y

Prayer (after Making Love to Myself)

God of the hickey, God of the bruise

God of the toe-curling, moan wrenching orgasm


I am alone again, awash in what has spilled from me;

and I am not ashamed.


I use my hands to worship what you have given me:

a body that yearns to be with another body.


Tonight, however, that is not possible. A lover

to myself I can be in his or her or their place.


Lord, do not patronize me for unabashedly glowing

while standing, ruby-faced, in the loose rain,

naked on my back porch, my jaw enjambed

as I stare up into the silken skin of the sky


looking at the hidden moon and letting drizzle and light

love me down to the follicle, hoping in the future

I deserve more than my own hands as scripture.




My Best Friend Practices Blood Magic

Your favorite color is wine splotch

             on a white tablecloth.             Your favorite flower

                                                                                  is the one that plucks you back.


You live by the ocean

                               in a storm of raven hued hair

                                                                       and I gather you too are as scared as me


of what the mist can hide in the seconds we walk through it.

                                                       Your favorite possession:


darkness that calms you, soothes the roaring fire stoked between your ribs.


                                       Once, you showed me what magic can do:

hurricane water and candle wax.                                  Once, you showed me what friendship


can mean in times of chiasmic space rent between the past and uncertainty.  Tell me what it is


             that hellfire forges on the anvil of our own chaos; I will tell you


my favorite color is the collar

            on a dead monarch’s robe.    My favorite flower

                                                                          is the one I plant in your name.


I whisper it when I am lonely and longing for confidence.

                                                                  I whisper it into the soil and watch the dahlias darken.




Boys Like Me Grow Flowers

even in winter, the trees bare as a naked selfie.

We know what flowers bloom in the moderately cold climates

of our mother’s stares. The non-invasive species of cyclamen

purple shoots with phosphorous white petals;

the congealed red of the hellebore resistant to frost

and survivor of low light; the insect repellant witch hazel

with its blond shoots like a sad boy’s unkempt hair.


You can find me stooping over the yellow-eyed pansies

tending to their thirst, tending to my thirst

to be needed in a season of humid wind and hardship.

This is my afternoon chore that I place on my back and knees:

to love something when I can’t love myself

to save something when I am not able to return

through the picture-less halls not holding my face

and instead look in the mirror wishing my hair would grow.

Samuel J Fox is a queer/non-binary writer of essays and poems living in the Southern US. They/He is poetry editor for Bending Genres. They/He appears in numerous online and print journals; however, you can also find them/him in dilapidated places, coffee shops, and graveyards, depending. Find Samuel on Twitter @samueljfox.

© 2018 by Azia Archer

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