after Kaveh Akbar
Some boys aren’t born at all, until they meet another boy &
he teaches them about atoms.
Valentino planted a seed in my hands before they were hands.
He told me at the roots of us all,
we were all atoms & I smiled & said I had no roots. I got here
by some spontaneous explosion,
the opposite of euthanasia. I breathed & something threw me
here, without my asking. There are
so many things descendant from their opposites. Like color theory,
where black swallows white. Like coal,
a cleansing, whitening abandoned teeth. Black coughs up white.
Like my mother, African, birthing me,
a lucid colorless inverse. I am washed out & the tide pulls me in
again. But let’s go back to the seed &
the earth’s crust, the funeral. Underground, & we hack the roots
into tasteless chunks with no origin.
Valentino asks me [where are you from] & I say some boys
aren’t born until somebody dies.
Valentino asks me [are you one of them] & I say some boys
aren’t born at all & that’s exactly why they exist.