sweet breath

Nate Marshall

all the slang we’ve swapped
between our regions won’t do
much for us now. how could it
lover? there’s no word for us
except our names & what is
a secret if i say it
in front of company?

what can i call you except a late night
when everybody else is asleep or pretending
& we are woke & not watching
nothing but each other? my nigga:
this pet name we exchange will make the voyeur
think animal or abomination
& i have no reason to correct
when what we on this eve could be either
or both.

remember the good schools we went to?
all the big words we bandy about for fun
next to our curses are missing in action.
i can’t say anything
but heavy breath our new language
for yes
with your writing hand wrapped around my windpipe.

Last updated September 27, 2022