Seek (Contest Winner, chosen by Ocean Vuong)

God, my brother says to me, and I say: No. A Calvary of speech. The spirit
chases you, he says, meaning the Holy one, God’s brother-self. I’m lazy
on the theology. My chrism brother, brother that I am to him, he is
a walking Bible—a book I’ve never wanted. But the church I was compels me
out to see The Passion of the Christ. And all of us, all of us, deep
down pity the man who barefooted the cross across the town in the film—
or, no, the testament? the prayer?—my God, I keep looking for a word to do
its work for me. Which is a way to say: I keep failing. But I’m not afraid to say
I cry at it, the prayer, the man and his body tearing. I’m crying (not for Christ,
his “sacrifice”) for my desire to feel in me the flesh of him, another ghost.
Some communion. So queer, to love my sameness in a body’s fleshy sacrament—
the way I mirrorlike become the chest of a man whose chest is before me,
a tussle of lusty muscle, ass atop this mass of me: divine
communism. We just keep repeating ourselves. Like Christ I can’t stand
to be in my own skin so I shed it, come out looking for a replacement in him
or him or him. We just keep repeating ourselves. But even so this thrust of us
I must be dreaming of is liturgy, too quick for me. I mean: we just keep repeating
our cells. Which is to say: I can’t bear to see myself naked, much less clean
and ghostly-habited. Good lord, we just keep rereaping ourselves. So then,
Brother, I confess: if to hate one gay (myself, myself) is to hate us all,
call me Westboro—or in their twisted figure, fag I am, call me God.

J.M. Gamble is a Ph.D. student in Women's Studies and English at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, SOFTBLOW, and The Collapsar, among others.