Ace Boggess


Those who love you don’t want to hear about the stink
like a cattle barn, the feel of other men’s knuckles
against your cheekbones like numbing needles the size of hammers.
They want your silence, your tongue severed in penance;

you’d rather say the words aloud
so the graveyard you sleep in seems less ominous.

Quiet bullies you with barbaric fists of insincerity.
You grasp for a song you want to sing,
the one you thought was yours,
but can’t name the tune or spit a second line:

what’s left as memory crushes your insides first,
leaves skin like a wet shirt in the wind.


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