The dark song, the churl, the way

you sing it, the way we fuck
at twilight. You stayed up

late to see the harbor gray, waited
for the sun to rake the sea

apart in several elongated shards.
In your briefs you prayed

to me, to my knees, prayed for release
but I washed my hands

of it, of you, of all these waves
meticulously pulled under the hull

of your boat. The night spread
before us in fragments: you, me, glass,

ring, cock—& this perception
seemed natural. Scrotum, sock. You spread

my legs apart, kissed a white
spot on my bare thigh for clarity

or direction. My body was never
prophecy the way you saw it—

the hair between my legs could never
tell you what door to open. The point

of asking is not to receive an answer
but make your own anxieties known

with each sea-elephantine
groan—For love? For pleasure?

Who knows? Only the breath you carry
& the blood in your exsanguination jar

divine much truth anymore.
Beyond your molecular composition

what else is there to say? I've felt
the ridges of your dark vessel, its prow

a bullet tearing through a bleak
& tender muscle—& never once did you

direct it at me, as if to suggest it's you
I will murder. No. Even now, it slides

down the Styx with remarkable
pomp, a single ravenous wing

breaking black through the keel.

Tory Adkisson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Quarterly West, Salamander, Birmingham Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Drunken Boat, Colorado Review, Third Coast, and other fine journals. He received his MFA from The Ohio State University and is currently a PhD student in literature and creative writing at the University of Georgia. Find out more about him at

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761