if i am nothing but a man covered in iridescent sequins does that not make me worth something // am i not some form of currency // first boy to have grazed my lips with his flesh was an explosion of rhinestones and set precedents for every boy there after // to have entered this space is to say you are one of many not so lucky // but what is luck other than chance’s kiss still wet with venom // the perfect opportunity to call coincidence // was it not luck that the boy who used my body as a stolen playground, did not leave much of himself in me // was it not luck when the boy took me behind the dumpster he also did not bring a weapon for his protection // was it not luck that i followed a boy into thistle at night and came out the other side unscarred // is it not luck that i’m still breathing every time i’ve played my life as a trump card // or am i just that good at gambling
I remembered today Ruth would have been 83. Woman of the leathered tongue. Somewhere back there my name is branded. I will say this and nothing else, I still fear when my mom calls me Eugene, I mean, Douglas, I mean Forgotten. I pray my name is stitched to the back of her teeth too, when her memory is not.
Jason B. Crawford (He/They) is a black, bi-poly-queer writer born in Washington DC, raised in Lansing, MI. In addition to being published in online literary magazines, such as High Shelf Press, Wellington Street Review, Poached Hare, The Amistad, Royal Rose, and Kissing Dynamite, he is the Chief Editor for The Knight’s Library. His chapbook collection Summertime Fine as a Short List selection for Nightingale & Gale. Jason is also the recurring host poet for Ann Arbor Pride.
Artwork by: Sharon McCutcheon