acknowledgments

you save me half a bag of skins, the hard parts, my fav, dusted orange with hot

 


you say we can’t go to the bar cause you’re taking your braids out
i come over, we watch madea while we pull you from you

 


you make us tacos with the shells i like & you don’t

 


i get too drunk at the party, you scoop my pizza from the sink with a solo cup, all that red

 


you, in the morning, bong water grin, wet chin

 


you, in the lawless dark, laughing like a room of women laugh
at a man who thinks his knowledge is knowledge

 


i text you & you say, i was bout to text you, bitch

 


you cook pork chops same way i do, our families in another city go to the same church

 


you, rolling a blunt, holding your son, is a mecca

 


you invite me out for drag queens on the nights i think of finally [ ]

 


you pull over in Mississippi so i can walk a road my grandfather bled on

 


you gave me a stone turtle, it held your palm’s scent for a week

 


i call your mama mama

 


you request like a demand, make me some of that mango cornbread
i cut the fruit, measure the honey

 


you & you & you & you go in on a dildo for my birthday
you name it drake, you know me

 


a year with you in that dirty house with that cracked-out cat was a good year

 


at the function, i feel myself splitting into too many rooms of static
you touch my hand & there i am

 


do you want to be best friends?
a box for yes, a box for no

 


did our grandmothers flee the fields of embers so we could find each other here?
friend, you are the war’s gentle consequence

 


i am the prison that turns to rain in your hands

 


you, at my door the night my father leapt beyond what we know
you, dirt where i plant my light

 


the branches of silence are heavy with your sweet seed

 


you smell like the milk of whatever beast i am

 


your poop is news, your fart is news, your gross body my favorite song

 


you, drunk as an uncle, making all kinds of nonsense sense
i listen for the language between your words

 


& when we fight, not a ring, but a room with no exit
we spill the blood & bandage the wound, clean burns with our tongues

 


if luck calls your name, we split the pot
& if you wither, surely i rot

 


we hate the same people, we say nigga please with the same mouth

 


& before we were messy flesh, i’m sure we were the same dust

 


everywhere you are is a church, & i am the pastor, the deacons, the mothers fainting at the altar

 


as long as i am a fact to you, death can do with me what she wants

 


my body, water, your body, a trail of hands carrying the river to the sea

 


i ink your name into my arm to fasten what is already there

 


i would love you even if you killed god

 


you made coming out feel like coming in from the storm

 


you are the country i bloody the hills for

 


you love me despite the history of my hands, their mangled confession

 


at the end of the world, let there be you, my world

 


god bless you who screens all my nudes, drafts my break-up text

 


you are the drug that knocks the birds from my heart

 


ain’t no mountain, no valley, no river i wouldn’t give the hands for comin’ to you sideways

 


o the horrid friends who were just ships harboring me to you

 


& how many times have you loved me without my asking?
how often have i loved a thing because you loved it?
including me

 


& i always knew

 


with yo ugly ass
More Poems by Danez Smith