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.