Toy "Don't walk along that road. That man's a perv." My bro and Al alerted all to swerve. I strolled to spy your house and yard of dirt, where weeds surrendered ground, from porch to curb. A spider waiting long and looking hurt, you drew this boy, just turned a teen, to flirt with danger. Whispered rumors pulled me near to peer beyond your fence and think pervert. Your shadow stirred for prey attracted here. You waved hello and crept into the clear. I waved hello and stayed, unlike the boys who teased and taunted me for being queer. Exhausting talk of school, you spoke of toys inside your home. I recognized your ploys, but not the cause or cure. I threw a curve and left for home to dash your wicked joys. Teddy Painters arrive tomorrow. The walls are already bare. We pile things on my room's bed, except for my teddy bear. We've waited years until we're both of legal age. Instead, I loan you Ted when we sleep on a floor that's ready, bare. Weightlifting at juvie transformed your body to muscles. Pressing old Ted to your groin, you make him a heady bear. But walls have ears. My brother's near. Everyone knows we're queer. We spend the night within inches; I felt unready, bare. If I, your crush, had known we'd never be this close again, I would have hugged you and not given you my teddy bear. Prunus (After William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just To Say") Don't apologize for eating my plum for saying, "I can taste you." Your tongue darts between the smooth curves of my prunus to find me delicious, sweet, and warm.
About the author:
André Le Mont Wilson (he/him) is a Black queer poet and writer who won the 2022 Newfound Prose Prize for his chapbook, Hauntings, which Newfound will publish in 2023. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in such queer publications as RFD Magazine; Beneath the Soil: Queer Survivor’s e-Zine; Ina: A Queer Erotic Anthology; Genre: Urban Arts Queer People of Color Anthology No. 2; and Obsidian “Gender Queer/Genre Queer Playground Special Issue.” He lives with his husband in California, teaching storytelling and writing to adults with disabilities in Oakland.