No Apologies

by Robin Gow

The straight establishment says we were wrong to riot —The Red Queen The word “NO” can only really exist in all capital letters. I’ve never been to D.C. but a few nights ago after fucking a boy took a dollar out of his pocket and said, “We’re going to burn the Washington and see how he likes it.” I wanted to stop him— instinctively reaching for the bill. The boy laughed and said I must not have ever lost anyone. I knew he meant lost anyone because I’m gay but I don’t think I’ve ever lost anyone at all—there are so many apologies in me I don’t have any room for loss. I told him I was sorry and I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to find a way to tell him he could fit his whole self in me if he wanted to—he could burn dollars and pour the ash in my mouth if he wanted. He could put the whole capital in my mouth if he wanted to. He smoked so even after he left I tasted that ash and I loved it— I imagined that it had actually happened that a whole city had curled and charred and crackle right on my tongue—and I apologized for it. —

Robin Gow’s poetry has recently been published in Poetry, the New Delta Review and the Roanoke Review. His first full-length collection is forthcoming with Tolsun Books. He is a graduate student and professor at Adelphi University pursuing an MFA in creative writing.

Artwork by: Sinué