“Hungry Horse, Montana” and “Post-Op”


These poems were originally accepted by Poetry Magazine but were withdrawn by the author in protest.

Hungry Horse, Montana

The rooster’s long feathers caught fire
in the yard and it ran, chased
by the smoke of its own tail.
The night after, a girl named herself
Phoenix and, drunk at the bar, told me
she knew the plot she’d be buried in,
on the land she grew up on, in the grave
of an old racehorse, three generations back.
She’d whisper to the other kids,
There’s a body down there, said to me,
I want to be that body.
It was the summer of my first beard.
I loved a boy who was called Arrow
in only one town and he left that town
for good. I loved a girl the one night
she taught me to bowl on a curve–
you’d have to see it, how it strikes
in the shape of a scythe,
how it harvests its ripe win.
It took her a thousand games, she said.
I bowled a strike on the first shot,
then never again. I loved a girl
the night she tied my hands
with manty rope, blinded me
with her bandana, watched me riveted,
just to kiss the eager trigger
of my hip. She was good
at possessing me. She was going
to stay a little longer, paint
a few more houses, move into the one
with red trim. The house is a good color.
Stay, she said, but didn’t have to
mean it. In the passenger seat,
I pressed the hotel bible on the floor
like a gas pedal. Will you remember me?
One of a hundred lovers
you slowed yourself against?
I loved a girl who, when she was six years old,
stomped a fire out and got a coal caught
in her cowboy boots. She shook it out
while her father laughed and it flew wild
as a comet. Once I prayed
between a thousand different Gods.
That summer I prayed only to the God
of my own spirit. I’d wait a few days
and answer the prayer, giving myself
all I asked for. There were questions
even the God of me stayed quiet on.
What will I do with this life?
Am I in love?
What if I let it be easy?
But it wasn’t easy. I touched the face of that God
like a distanced lover in disbelief.
I was levitating. How do I convince you?
I was levitating. Like an offering
I touched my God’s face and he held me
by the small of my back. Floating.
Please, I said.
The past and the future surrounded the bed.
Don’t do just anything with me.



My skin shelters me as I stretch
& undress inside: lush with motion: I am
alive with repair: my cut nerves like glow worms
rejoice by glowing: & for once healing does not take
a lifetime: my body was not caught off-guard: no: I came apart
easily: all of me asked: all of me received:
a friend holds the fruit of my blood: another holds me
all through the night: & in the morning: my bed is full of visitors:
friends who’ve never met before: singing & sharing cake: I strip
at a dinner party for friends of friends & together
we watch my partially pink nipples blink out
from their purpled shells: now
I sit in your lap & unbandage: touch makes strange
who is touching: who is being touched:
like care: at its best: blurring who is the nourisher & who
is being nourished: lover
with your numb lip: I can feel your mouth
with my thumb more than you can: you can feel my chest
with your mouth more than I can: in the midst of exchange
comes what cannot be requested:
only received: as immutual & solitary
as a gift: you place your hand over my chest:
sore & heavy where the tubes were: you touch me
where I have been waiting my whole life to be touched:
it is that easy.

The Infinite is Everywhere and Cheap

If my face was a mask stuck to my face, then my girldick was a strap-on I could never remove. And both were the shadows of masculinity I could never shake.