A Boy Ago Visits His Shadow
Tyler Allen PennyPoetry / Number 100
After Lucie Brock-Broido
No whipped pistol. No two-inch signature
on your scalp two weeks into February.
No metal potential. No skull dent, flapped
skin. No masked hand willing ruin.
No blood-black shirt in the two-block
walk back home. No safe walls.
Beds to become inescapable islands.
No hospital staple gun to your right temple,
three effigies staked into a new brunette
tomb. No night nurse flipping through
Good Housekeeping, July issue,
Die Hard 2 playing on the TV, vacant
cobwebs strung from the ceiling.
What will be left: new boundaries of
a noir body, forever prone on the street.
One that’s gravel dark, eyes wide
to the glint of steel; rare, more raw.
Return each year to that shoulder
of road. Clench a fist for a heart.
Touch him gently. Tell him
where it will hurt.
Tyler Allen Penny is a queer southern poet, performer, and educator. His poems can be found in Best New Poets 2018, Columbia Journal, TSR: The Southampton Review, Typishly, Deep South Magazine, OF ZOOS, Fearsome Critters: A Millennial Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Joseph Kelly Prize and residencies at Tin House’s Winter Workshop, Taleamor Park, and the Vermont Studio Center. Follow him on Instagram: @tylerallenpenny.Evil Face from Outerspace by Pawel Czerwinski