by Robert Randolph, Jr.
Running wild in the streets,
darting behind concrete pylons,
smoking and kissing between drags,
we embarrassed familiar spirits
with our fortune. Their tongues
lapped at our folly, but we didn’t care.
We, two lusty deities, carried on
like that the whole summer,
drawing ourselves from dark rooms,
charming ourselves until
we were swollen and fragrant.
No one cared that we sat beside the lake,
casting bread to ducks, their appetites
as ravenous as our own. No one cared
that I belonged to you and you to me,
content in each other’s possession. The
smell of grass, the sound of the water,
the permissive breeze all crested into tenderness
as I pulled your locs back from your nape
and caressed the constellation there.
Would I be a star? I would trill and dance to see
your face anew when we first began.
Another holy life, another covenant,
we shed our skins. No illness or melancholy
can distract us from what our mouths already know,
something marvelous tucked behind
our tongues. We slip into our gentleness,
and our hearts syncopate as we press
past the longing in our blood. No
longer coy, there is no need for illusion:
just two lusty deities duetting songs
of love as bottomless as death.
Robert Randolph, Jr., is a writer, scholar, and country boy from Pinetops, North Carolina. His research and teaching interests include Black literature and cultural production, socio-cultural foundations of education, and Black feminist and queer rhetorics. He is a Watering Hole Poetry Fellow. Some of his notable publications include, “Delectable Negroes: On precarity, death, and the Black queer male body,” and “The Queer Poetics of Social Justice: Literacy, Affect(ion), and the Critical Pedagogical Imperative.” You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.