after Six Feet Under, Jethro Tull, My Girl, and The White Stripes / for Lex
ask me if the sky is as big today
as it was the last time we spoke,
when I jogged along the edge of Monterey Bay
hunting for a bloating gam of whales
to photograph for us
and dry heaved from withdrawal.
when our eyes and our mouths
always took notes for the poems
we hadn’t written yet.
our throne, abdicated in the name of love,
or at least what a doctor convinced us was so.
even after all those needling years,
I am still tenderly pulled apart
by the celluloid bloat of a face
turned miserably aglow with hormones.
scammed, by the falsehood of medicinal reward.
in high school I wanted anything but a stomach
full of prescription disquiet. just one cock
unexamined by labcoat strangers
and sperm born from my own cells.
now in adulthood I only want to write poems
dedicated to Keith Charles
saying no matter how we get a child, we’ll both win
to David Fisher on Six Feet Under,
because, given my own inconclusive
fertility calculator and my swimmers
like butterfly teacups, I say
let’s let those who glow just glow
and hope to someday make fire all the same.
there’s a belly somewhere
now a living room painted by lamplight.
and if a set of intestines like tungsten,
then a set of breasts mistaking the sky
for the floor to match.
what gender is testosterone if not birdsong
singing your sperm’s in the gutter,
your love’s in the sink
against the gonadal potency of his own winded flute.
yes, I am thick as a brick,
in that I can’t peel backwards
and let the garden of suns spill from my ribs.
yes, a decadence of light, as if everything I touch
knows how to breathe except myself.
I know you still sleep somewhere
between the lips you pressed against my cheek
in a dormitory bedroom, tonguing the sunset,
patiently waiting for the wind.
our running legs the color of sunburnt lemonade
have never stopped since we met.
I’ve been told the seven saddest words in the English
language are “he was going to be an acrobat,”
followed by “you need to see a fertility specialist.”
though, it is my humblest opinion that
all sentences I speak have already been cooked.
I could be the seventh son of the seventh son.
everything I ever am will still require an incubator.
so perhaps I don’t have it in me to love so hard.
or perhaps I have never really loved anyone
quite as much as I have loved you.
O, to be swimming and swimming
until we cross paths again.
to never stop circling each other once we do.
Matt Mitchell lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He wrote The Neon Hollywood Cowboy (Big Lucks, 2021) and Grown Ocean (word west, 2021) and tweets @matt_mitchell48.