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Love Song

Forgive me. I thought I was dead,
your flag draped over my face,

dolls across my lap. I want to leave.
I want to thrash out from under

the swelling crest of the dollar
before its undertow swallows us

like a snack. I’m going to eat your heart
like a snack. You’re going to eat my heart

before this undertow swallows us.
Swollen crest of the dollar,

I want to thrash out from under
the dolls across our laps. I want to leave

no flag draped over our faces.
(Forgive me, I thought. I was dead.)

•           •           •

Thank you. I’m finished. If you care,
then rinse the soot from my mouth.

Here’s a dollar. Let me know
if the future left a message

I can swallow. The newscaster
tells me the story of our lives

before I can check the ballot.
Before I can check, the ballot

tells me the story of our lives.
I can swallow the newscaster.

If the future left a message,
here’s a dollar. Let me know,

then rinse the soot. From my mouth,
thank you. I’m finished, if you care.

•           •           •

Forgive me. How little it took
to legislate assent, the way gods

make themselves appear natural.
I love the way you masturbate.

You make a ring of nudes in a meadow
feel lonely. The long night comes

when you have no one left to talk to.
When you have no one left to talk to,

the long night comes. Feel lonely?
You made a ring of nudes in a meadow

yours. I love the way you masturbate,
make them selves appear. Natural

to legislate assent this way: “God,
forgive me!” How little it took.

•           •           •

Forbidden, we wipe ourselves away.
What difference does it make?

Like any liar, you know the trick.
“Fuck you.” Just aim.

It only leads to more fire.
If beyond the fire there’s a door,

here’s a dollar.
There is no dollar

if beyond the fire there’s a door
but it only leads to more fire.

“Fuck you.” Just aim.
I like a liar. I know your tricks.

“What difference does it make?”
I forbid you to wipe yourself away.

 

 

Brad Richard’s books include Motion Studies and Butcher’s Sugar. His work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, Massachusetts Review, Okey-Panky, Xavier Review, and other journals. He directs the creative writing program at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans and co-curates a LGBTQ reading series, The Waves.

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