On the Occasion of My Fortunate Escape
Do not look for me at the front of the church,
In a white box, smile pressed into the corners
Of my mouth. Do not expect me shorn properly
& slicked into a fresh-pressed, respectable suit.
Do not seek the silent reflection or comfort
Of a creaky pew & a good old hymn. Go
Instead to the darkest alley you can find
On Main Street. Talk to the man who listened
To the wonders of my day, as if fairytale,
Who shared my bed at least twice a month.
Mention my name & watch his eyes alight
With the taste of four-cheese macaroni
& artichoke-spinach dip. Undress as he recounts
The amazing grace of the nape of my neck,
The briny eyespit caked there, & when
He falls into you & calls my name, give thanks.
by L. Lamar Wilson
L. Lamar Wilson is the author of Sacrilegion (2013), the 2012 selection for the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series, a 2013 Independent Publishers Group bronze medalist, and a 2013 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry finalist, and is a co-author of Prime (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), a collection of poems and interviews with the Phantastique Five. Individual poems have been published in jubilat, Rattle, Connotation Press Online and elsewhere; have won the Beau Boudreaux Poetry Prize; and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Wilson, a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, holds an MFA from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is completing a doctorate in African American and multiethnic American poetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Visit him at llamarwilson.com.