Two Poems

by Ashton Young

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This Is

I keep thinking
because this is not the same
I should not leave

Because I am not my mother
asking me if we should run,
knowing she cannot stop her 4-year-old
from calling Daddy monster,
leaving a note of a covert
operation robbed of choice
this is different

this is not abuse

But when I tell you
I will go back to burial
I will use my mouth
to wipe myself out
I will be the hollowed eyes
of every doll I’ve ever lost
and ask you
to embody my discomfort
to step through
a curtain you never knew
you were behind
to walk wide open with me
and instead
you hold the pipe
and the shame
and the fear
and how you are still being wronged
at your chest
between us
maybe this is not different

If safety
becomes having to
ask for a new home,
if I have to pray for
currency to keep it,
if I have to run to Harlem
to partisan a basement
or room with my grandfather’s ghost
or sleep on a friend’s couch
even though they’ve
offered me a bed
I don’t feel
I have the right to sleep in,
this is the same

moving day

the day
i went
to gather
the rest
of me
i knew
i would wake
up to rain
an earth
with tears
and thunder
prepared to fully
pull me out
of the woman
i lived in

with eyes closed
we yelled
what we
will never say
in a dream
the safest place
for the wrecking ball
of our words

you appeared
a white woman
in a home
that was
never mine
in the clutter
with privilege
at your chest

my things
are only
a corner
stuffed in bags
and boxes
ripe with escape

money is a prison
and i am
leaving with
one small
in a thin
of promising

if we
were back
to back
in this
silent duel
an aged
wilted love
spine to spine
the bullets
in our
would be
a wounding