by Bryan Borland
He tells me to use my teeth,
scrape the skin just barely,
just enough to
make him feel it.
This from the boy who caught me like a hungry fish
on his shiny, perfect hook,
the minnow who swam like dinner in my bedroom oceans,
luring me with rubescent cheeks above and below,
the one who stood out
in schools of leaders and followers,
traveling, colorful clouds of tumbling positions.
This from the gentle boy whose quickening currents
I’d fought to slow into liquid forgetfulness
with nibbles so near to the back of his neck,
my stealthy arms drifting toward but never to, never around
his river-strong body.
This from the quiet boy washed to me
dripping and naked but safe and willing
along my crooked coastline,
carried along by my pleas for the pronunciation of pain
to float from his fluid vocabulary.
This from the trophy boy I saved from drowning,
into whose depths I’d so often dreamt
not of plunging piston-like with steam rising in
a delta vapor of swampy lust,
but of sinking sweetly and slowly to the bottom
with the carefulness of a trickling southern stream,
soft and with love.
This after he and I together tread bodies of sun-warmed water
undiscovered by all, untouched by any man,
the same boy with me as we reach the surface and gasp for air,
when there’s not an inch of dry land in sight,
it is this boy who turns from tadpole to shark
and tells me
make it hurt.
© Bryan Borland