to william carlos williams: take me from my skin, make me a river rock again | K. Persinger

there is a boy in my class who looks like he could
catch a bird out of the brush with his bare hands:
a gentleness i cannot mirror, though i long to;
i picked my patron saint out of spite & i fear that
this is the way of all loving

i have forgotten how to pray: this is not to say
that there is no divinity here between us,
in this; merely that i do not know what to do
with it.
God presses His fingers against my
closed eyelids with so much tenderness
that i wish the fruit had truly killed me
it is too much.

let us pretend for the space of this moment
that my hands, my mouth, could pluck, unprotected,
the fruit of the cactus out from between its thorns
and come way unbloody,

that i could unbind & breathe deeply & the sun
would shine so brightly we would burn with it—
if you closed your eyes and kissed me, how would i
taste different from any other man?


Writer’s Commentary 

Drawing from the lines “through metaphor to reconcile / the people and the stones” from “A Sort of Song” by William Carlos Williams, which have always resonated with me, this poem is a meditation on the longing for tender love as a queer nonbinary person, and the struggle to accept it.



K. Persinger is a Southern Californian poet and an undergraduate student double majoring in Comparative Literature and Anthropology and double minoring in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Archaeology. Their work can be found in The Wall, Neon Anteater Renaissance, New Forum, Rising Phoenix Review, L’Éphémère Review, and Werkloos Mag, as well as on their blog