During my top surgery consultation, my partner says to the doctor, tell me what you will do to their veins


and no answer will satisfy true

blood flow or this boy who loves me.


The truth is, as I sleep, everything directly above

my heart will be cauterized.


Facts are difficult

if you are able to recognize them


as fact. I am scared

of my partner


being face to face with my blood

because I love them.


When we talk of the future, my future chest is as flat

as our future backyard. We plant


a lemon tree and it grows

even in winter.



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. You can read more of their work at www.krcandrilli.com