Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Teething; Leave your legacy at the door

Teething; Leave your legacy at the door
Photograph via Flickr Ivo

Take the split of a cantaloupe,
rip it clean off
the rind, rub it in salt
& tar &
tie a string behind a roadbike, count pieces of
gravel afterward in its smile.
that is a dead boy on the
news, see how animated the anchors
& their hands
make him a scene,
digitized & on a screen &
in a coffin
cantaloupe is a fleshy fruit for
people like you, obsessed with
death. the first time you
ate it you dipped it in ketchup & everyone
about it in your mouth, not the
blood, shallow drip
down your chin, Sam dipped fruit
into ketchup
but the juice
dried & within you,
family joke for years


Leave your legacy at the door

because I don’t give a fuck
about it. My mother calls me
again about my poems, how
her extended cousin found
one, & in it, I mentioned sex
with a boy on the swim team.
And? My phone smells of
lecture & coffee beans. My
notepad in my arms feels
like a war machine, like
a flag stuck through planets
to shatter them. Your legacy
is all you have in this world.
I’m sure you think that, Mom,
I’m sure you thought that
when asking my sisters, both
of them, if their husbands
would still be interested in
them once learning about
their gay brother, your
legacy brimming with pride
as you thought about moving
cities, your son had come
out & you, only worried
your friends would find out.
Mother. I’m upset, in grief.
One poem inappropriate
for a cousin does not outlaw
the ones filling their window-
gardens with musings &
mustard seeds, we are in
constant planting of handles
& gripped, dangling by scarves
on some road, together. Believe
in this, how the lampshades
illuminate us, could outshine
our ancestors. We are holding
hands in the roller rink,
gliding away from
the walls. I’ll fall first.