TWO POEMS by Jason B. Crawford

/ / Issue 20

Debt (4)

–I was once owned by a boy and all I received in return was his guilt. Such a concept, the property of lust. How we long so much to own something, let it be the boi poured from a lover’s cement. Halpern states, “this eternity of stars repeating, whatever you make me swallow, I’ll swallow” and in this I imagine you, again in my mouth, a stone turned over by my tongue until it is drenched in my spit and carried down my esophagus. Please tell me what I owe you,  so I can ante up and forget everything; 

                                memory is another form of



–I cannot think of debt without thinking of my own inheritance, of what has been gifted, all of its costs. My mother’s aching joints, my father’s temper and knees. 

The thrashing caused by my blood when a boy slaps the back of my scalp in the name of love. I have asked for so much to be bestowed, I fear my greed will be rewarded one day with everything it requests. 

A bladed hand swift to the back of my neck. A boy built from spit and mud and a handful of daggers pointed at my chest. A lullaby that foretells my own unraveling at the swirling of it’s softest notes tucked tight coiling my neck. 

I find no space safe for a queer boi to live on this already dying planet. How often I wonder how I inherited such a thing, all this hurt, all these sticks I wish would burn–