The man is very smart, with bright eyes and chalky skin, straw hair cut short. His thesis is very smart. We’re fucked, he says and I imagine him crop-topped. I think, I’ll know we’re fucked when I see you in a crop-top, and am unsure of how to take myself. My inability. My boy.
His thesis is give up. We’re fucked. When he was small and played in dirt: he’s such a boy, his mother said. When he put his unsure hand in hers, he was such a boy but no one said it. He and she are fucked, he says. America can’t keep us safe.
I’ll develop gills, I think. I’ll never wear a crop-top. I’m a boy, I think. But I’ve yet to do violence to a body not mine. I’ve yet to wear my thesis so fearlessly on my tongue.
Thesis does not equal flag although they share a father. Department of. You wore that shirt two days ago. You must be fucked, or boy. You should crop that top is equal to, or less than, the violence done to bodies.
I note a scar on your right eyelid and think, I have yet to. I note a hole in your thesis which is equal to the violence of America can’t keep us. We’re fucked, he says to all his fathers. His right eye scarred with great intention.
I think how far I’ll swim with my new gills. I note how small the shoreline flags will fade. My thesis will sound less than his when I speak it underwater, my intention equal to.
Emily Brandt is the author of three chapbooks: Sleeptalk or Not At All (Horse Less Press), ManWorld (dancing girl press) and Behind Teeth (Full Court Books). Her poems have appeared in Apogee, Sink Review, H_NGM_N, The Atlas Review, and other journals. She earned her MFA from New York University where she facilitated the Veterans Writing Workshop. She’s been in residence at Saltonstall Arts Colony (NY) and Elsewhere (NC). Emily is a co-founding editor of No, Dear, Web Acquisitions Editor for VIDA, and a contributing writer for Weird Sister. She lives and teaches in Brooklyn. www.emilybrandt.com