Take Your Coffee Black

By an Offing editor, for Staff Saturday.

 (to the poet, before whiteboys):

1. He will comment on your skin, the first night. Will say how soft and smooth it is, that it is like nothing of this earth. He will feel you unidentified and extraterrestrial. You are. You are.

2. He will ask you about your lips. Your hair. If you know that one song he can’t say all the lyrics to, because no one should really say that word. You will convince yourself he’s right. He’s wrong.

3. His friends will check if you are a real boy. Outside of reaching in your pants, they will choke some answer out of you. Interrogate your asshole, make sure they have nothing to fear. They do. They always do. It is not you.

4. He will eat you. Call you cocoa, and cherries, and pomegranates, and peaches out of season. Your flesh will run down his cheek and you will lick it off. He will swallow you. Whole. Or in pieces. Or slice you as tendon, debone your chest, pick out your red meat. Call you palpitation, ask you to be his veins. He will tongue the marrow from your bones, suckle your joints clean. He will gut you in five courses. You are satisfaction.

5. His nodding head and agreeable smile are an optical illusion, he will detract white light through opaque prism you call being. He will be sedation, or hypnosis, or impenetrable haze of searing sensation. This is sickness, he is disease.

6. He will only ever ask you to fuck him. You can only ever fuck him. And still you will be fucked, over and again, and by choice, or what you understand as choosing. You will choose survival. You will choose dominance. You will need submission.

7. He will buy you. He will try to fit you into his pocket. Every transaction will cost you — more. He will name you gratuity. His tip will be spare change afterthought. All of this is economy. You are goods. You are services. You are luxury. He does not afford your import.

8. His mother will pull back her hand after meeting you, rubbing your shadow off her skin. His father will examine you as evidence, as residue, a polite autopsy. They know. You will kill their bloodline. Again.

9. He will hold you where you lay. Spread you the ends of your geography, your flinching: a border crossing. He will smother you, in subtle gestures, his fingers will cover your hilltops and valleys. He will make your waters thick and murky, siphoning your shores, filling it with his own waste. You must pull your own tide, back into your sea, back into your ocean, back into your bones.

10. You will know him as love, as backseat near the train station, third floor bedroom, faded Kansas State sweatshirt, beer-smelling basement. But he will be noose, he will hang you from your own bedsheets. Your twisting rot will feed his lust. He will not know that you are of the root. That you are the leaf, the bean, the grinding. That you are your purest form.