The morning that time emerges from its growing phase with its teeth grown back & its back pressed against the door frame is the morning that time turns into a big raven and flies through my bedroom window & its shattered glass right into the North Carolina stars, under which I am not holy. The morning that the boy kisses me
and the world turns the color of time, and my body thaws, and I learn how to love like a dying dog
is the morning that my father forms corporeal out of his ashes & begs me to love him again.
I picture my father walking me down the aisle. I picture the kingdom of my extension
wrapped up in a dark, black suit
and my lover dips me when we kiss & my father is the worst thing that a father can be:
I watch him beneath me in the airplane. This is it, I’m going
to be the raven, or I’m going to be the holiness that I lack, or I’m going
to perch on the edges of humanity & fly off into the temptation
of a clean-cut, steady being. We’re going to eat honey on the moon & we’re going to wear white
when we rewatch the day of his death & we’re going to ruin the rose petals with the ferocity of our love melted into feathers melted into a burning hot hatred.
We’re going to fold in and touch the softness of the bed sheets and think about how lucky we are
to live here, in this world, where we can chew on our words & spit out the sickness of the leftover bones. The morning of the fantasy-driven life
is the morning that I cut out my father’s tongue & feed it to the raven. The morning that I cut my father out of me malignant is the morning
that I meet my father for the first time after his death. The morning that I find myself in love
is the morning that my father decides to die & the morning that my mother seals up the bricks of being, the holes in the wall where he’s trapped in the monster, the unforgivable brushes of skin like hands against concrete.
KAEL KNOXTON MARTIN is a poet and author living in Lansing, MI. Their work has previously been published under their former pen name, Lex Lizbeth Martin, in Rattle magazine. Their work focuses on the sides of love that aren't visible, ghosts of trauma, and any other theme that may be rattling around in their brain on a given day.