The Forgetting Episodes
today you went to brunch with /
today at the winery with / again today
i watched you watch a series of primetime
sitcoms with no significant black characters
and bat not a lash. at the base of your neck,
soft bristles my fingers brush lightly; on the sofa,
i breathe your soap’s sandalwood remainder —
now a loud party rotates.
one of your friends, another’s puzzled partner,
and i all bond over the brownness of our arms
and ramble an overview of rap music, a dance
of thrown shoulders, loud red tongues, well-
greased hair. my hand in yours. at moments,
i want to give you a list of what is crippling.
one: that i can never leave my body.
[us] is a stock mental image: a white lily
centerpiece, the deep-marine tabletop
circling. our green-eyed, brown-skinned child,
i keep saying (sometimes in silence), would be
gorgeous. and all of this must be smashed.
i love (that) you (make me forget). i am out
of place. among the slow petals, a black briar,
by Justin Phillip Reed
Justin Phillip Reed is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. His poetry appears in Anti-, Rattle, and Connotation Press, and is forthcoming in Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. YesYes Books will release his first chapbook, A History of Flamboyance, in 2015. He hails from Florence, South Carolina.