after alexis bates
the color of these lips, after the grazing,
muted. a marble rosary being spat out.
a brother’s fist, blood of my blood,
my blood running down my chin, my
new name sanctified. the healing, and then
the bruising. a marble rosary being swallowed.
mine is a tongue pagan enough to be severed.
this pastel mouth sings & kisses every angel
who is kinder than god. are the words swallowed,
or the tongue itself? amen falling backwards,
collapsing into my throat. the bruising, and then
the choking. the choking, and then the speaking.
with nothing holy left to say, flesh becomes
teeth crashing into teeth. cracked lips colored
with all the honesty never spoken. the tongue
becomes the boy, and the word was with god.
in the end, also the boy. a chalice dangling
from brother’s fingers. this, my body &
this, my blood. this, always my blood. in the
beginning, the word. the learning of speech.
the prayer is spoken in reverse. i say
dear god, and then i go silent, unwaited.
Logan February is a happy-ish Nigerian owl who likes pizza & typewriters. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Ellis Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Wildness, Glass, Bateau, and more. He is the author of How to Cook a Ghost (Glass Poetry Press, 2017) & Painted Blue with Saltwater (Indolent Books, 2018). Say hello on Instagram & Twitter @loganfebruary.