after The Jerome Project by Titus Kaphar
Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panels
7×10½ inches each
I am writing to you from the other side Of my body where I have never been Shot and no one's ever cut me. I had to go back this far in order To present myself as a whole being You'd heed and believe in. You can trust me When I am young. You can know more When you move your hands over a child, Swift and without the interruptions We associate with penetration. The young are hard for you To kill. May be harder still to hear a kid cry Without looking for a sweet To slip into his mouth. Won’t you hold him? Won’t you coo toward the years before my story Is all the fault of our imaginations? We can make me Better if you like: write back. Or take the trip. I’ve dressed my wounds with tar And straightened a place for you On the cold side of this twin bed.