Not the hand, but the face it touches

Not the mother shushing, but the child


crying because he doesn’t understand:

the subway, the man with acid scars


on his face, hunger

Don’t be the family,


be its benevolent spirit

Be dead, be full


Not the tree, but the termite that eats it

Not the wood, but the throat that swallows the wood


Not the body, but its revenge,

its end:


I walked out of my life

and walked back into it


My lover says Not yet

I wake and eat pink clouds


My lover says Too soon

So there is a road


streaked with light

There is New Jersey


My lover says I want a son

Not the body but the star


Not the child, but the hope

that comes with the child


Not song, but prayer


Originally from Michigan, Trenton Pollard has worked as a welder, political organizer, graphic designer, and massage therapist. He is a graduate student at Columbia University, where he is the nonfiction editor of Columbia Journal Online. Prior to moving to New York City, he received an MFA in Poetry from North Carolina State University. He has work forthcoming in Denver Quarterly,Lambda Literary, and elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter @trenton_pollard.