Migration Schedule

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.