notes on origin story
she is 22 & pregnant. the baby is born & does not utter a single cry
& here is the prize,
a young boy on his knees
his slowly rising head thrust down
three times from god
& like all things that split, this is how
i came to be, a parable of hands
dug into the spine
the perfect pillow for crying wolf
to forgive is a brutal word.
is swimming in your own blood to survive.
o thousand palaces already built
from the air pockets of my blood
splattering pavement where they worship
me, call me lifegiver, god, savior
not faggot, not slut, not yours.
ever since your funeral, i have watched
each boy after you turn into a closed casket,
a dark promise that breaks open to reveal
nothing inside. a tower,
any tall thing with the potential
for falling, the harsh pavement
that was unwilling to take you inside it
& how i began to envy the ground itself,
glued notebook paper to my elbows
& thought myself a snow angel, the snow
bank a wet kiss across the forehead
once god created man
& along with him came the naming,
the fear that he would find the truth
of it all—
i made this mouth to please you.
i made this mouth to kill you.
i ask god a second time
why a knife without the courage
Tyler Tsay is pursuing a Political Science major at Williams College. His work has been or will be published in The Offing, DIALOGIST, The Margins, BOAAT, Sibling Rivalry Press, Vinyl Poetry (YesYes Books), Red Paint Hill, smoking glue gun, and others. He is the recipient of the Bullock Poetry Prize, awarded by the Academy of American Poets & judged by Camille Rankine, and the Editor in Chief of The Blueshift Journal (theblueshiftjournal.com). When not doodling, collecting quills, or composing cello pieces, he loves a good view, despite having an atrocious fear of heights. And yes, fezzes are definitely cool.