After Hernan Bas’ The Garden Always Looked Different at Night
During my assault, I imagine I choked
up blueish tulips and someone else’s hands—
but the only thing I can conjure
in detail is the wiccan spell of protection
and my mother’s recipe for wisteria.
In this life, I have grown
accustomed to rape and the need
to keep my body
a greenhouse for all
Remember: A mouth feels like it has many teeth
only when it closes.
Remember: I have built a flower
bed from a bruised
trachea, and that is only the start
of my industriousness. My skin can smell
deer pillaging the garden. My throat has turned
itself to top soil. Forget me-
nots never stop spilling
from my neck.
After Hernan Bas’ Tracing Shadoes (or The Mistaken silhouette)
when i say i’ve found it difficult to access joy
i mean when light or the lack of light
multiplies my shadow
i anticipate my murder.
my murder looks like me, but much more
blue, more dirt road after rain, more moth to flame.
the sun is an empty egg.
my body is barren.
another man on the street bares his teeth
and i have never been able to discern
anger from hunger—lava from
wind in my vein.
After Jennifer Jackson Berry
And after Hernan Bas’ River Crossing
With the Sun spotlighting
our house of family,
it is time to send down
roots & seek belonging.
& belonging is the song
that plays between our legs
when our legs tangle, isn’t it?
Spring is the season to collect
ourselves—to fill our well
with something valuable,
vial of new blood & perhaps
our first true marriage.
Only strong relationships will survive
& we have become necessary syringe.
I refuse metaphor
only when fact is more beautiful.
I will hold your hand
& I will hold your hand steady.
Husband, nothing is holy
Our fathers built staircases & we are bringing
sledgehammers to our bodies so gently
only we can hear this pleasure.
There is nowhere to go
but into one another.
We will be careful not to burn
the candle at both ends.
Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over, forthcoming with YesYes Books and winner of the 2016 Pamet River Prize. They are published or forthcoming in BOAAT Press, Puerto del Sol, Booth, Vinyl, Muzzle, Cream City Review, and others. Candrilli is a Best of the Net winner and a Pushcart Prize nominated poet. They serve as an assistant poetry editor for BOAAT Press and they hold an MFA from the University of Alabama. Candrilli now lives in Philadelphia with their partner.