after The Jerome Project by Titus Kaphar

Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panels

7×10½ inches each

I am writing to you from the other side 
Of my body where I have never been 
Shot and no one's ever cut me.  
I had to go back this far in order 
To present myself as a whole being 
You'd heed and believe in. You can trust me 
When I am young. You can know more 
When you move your hands over a child, 
Swift and without the interruptions
We associate with penetration.  
The young are hard for you
To kill. May be harder still to hear a kid cry 
Without looking for a sweet 
To slip into his mouth. Won’t you hold him? 
Won’t you coo toward the years before my story 
Is all the fault of our imaginations?  
We can make me 
Better if you like: write back.  Or take the trip.  
I’ve dressed my wounds with tar 
And straightened a place for you 
On the cold side of this twin bed. 
Copyright © 2004–2023 Memorious