invocation for harry styles

I say your name            into the mirror

( rosewater,  dogwood,  houndstooth )

& slip my fingers          through whose

tremor of hair & whose       hair is that

in my mouth         in your open mouth

o tangle    o penny    o my once-pretty

face      as a child             I was hairless

androgynous as a knife    no     as soap

as a child I licked        soap & watched

stubble ruin back up       from the part

of the skull             where our fur lives

already curled into          the shapes we

call boy               the mirrors we tremor

through on our way out      of mothers

of fathers    half-sutured flags       I say

your name & finger the slip       of our

tongue           like a penny condemned

to a life of rust              I don’t believe

in boys   much less men      but if I did

they all would wear        their whiskers

as prettily as you    boy means anything

that was once pretty        or tongueless

a single eyelash      shattering into gold

( houndstooth,  dogwood,  rosewater )

I say your name in the mirror    & wait

for my father’s beard   to spider across

my face        then slide the razor home

through my skin     what is pretty in us

is what in us              is not our fathers

& whose flags we burn       back to ash

o tongue tangle      o cream bright rust

yes             come sing me back to sleep

tell me what use is my last    good face

if not buried    to the bone in flowers?

Brad Trumpfheller is a writer & bookseller living in Boston. Originally from the South, their work has appeared in The Nation, The Adroit Journal, West Branch, Muzzle, Indiana Review, among others. They tweet @bradtrumpfh