Each day was an archipelago
of awkward hours, nothing ours,
a glass boat of only oars.
The waters in between, slow
red coals, bell-to-bell walks
along the rim of the event
horizon of this, our black
holes. The light is bent
into the aberrant face of ape,
pig, armadillo, buzzard: chimera
boy, finless swimmer. Drape
a fog to cover over the horror
of dodo, of island finch.
Drape a hood to smother
our bulging eyes. Cinch
a cord around it. Cover
us for our own safe misery,
our beaks like rodent teeth—
with nothing to cut they grow
through lip, chin, mouth, bone.
Pierce slow as continental drift,
mouths wired shut, bully’s gift.
We thin, we cool, eat a soup
of slur, see them sharpen, loop
like those teeth, into our head
a long suicide on the nurses’s bed.
O pangea! Reform! Make sleep
an island and not this deep lake.
Christopher Hennessy is the author of Love-In-Idleness, from Brooklyn Arts Press, a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award. His book Our Deep Gossip: Conversations with Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire is forthcoming from University of Wisconsin Press. He is also the author of Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets (University of Michigan Press). He earned an MFA from Emerson College and currently is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He was included in Ploughshares‘ special “Emerging Writers” edition, and his poetry, interviews, and book reviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, Verse, Cimarron Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Bloomsbury Review, Court Green, OCHO, Crab Orchard Review, Natural Bridge, Wisconsin Review, Brooklyn Review, Memorious, and elsewhere. Hennessy is a longtime associate editor for The Gay & Lesbian Review-Worldwide.