how much will it hurt
to pull my eyes out of their sockets?
i have grown tired of seeing
or is it that seeing isn’t as powerful as i make it?
see: his body a mausoleum verdigris’d in dust & blood
see: the hole in his back just left of his heart where a wing won’t grow now
see: his fam, who only knows his nickname, heads bowed with grip-tight fist whispering a
prayer called disbelief
see: his fam eyes quaking beneath their eyelids trying to detach & find orbit, be moons, for
see: [ ]
we don’t know what to do with our eyes.
they dream & nightmare & glint back illusions
making us their hostages.
i know crying over anything makes it holy.
see: his mother tears leaching with his blood building an amethyst cathedral to carry him home
even if we know what to do with our tears.
they still fall & crash & stain the ground
we should be worshipping.
each day we should be praising our bodies
for that it lives, for that it breathes, here—
for that we can only see an arm’s length of mercy.
i don’t want to let my tears go.
i want to keep them, them safe.
but how do i pull out my eyes?
what hymn, what instrument, what ritual do i use
to cut deep wells into this misery?
o, how they should be reservoirs,
twin lagoons, a holyficated paradise
above a mouth that often tries to speak
the dead language of falling teardrops.
see: him floating in one of the lagoons with the others while angels barbeque & keep vigil
they say, depending on what emotion,
your tears crystalline in a distinct form.
mine know anger now, so the form must be
like sasuke uchiha’s amaterasu.
see: my irises scintillate into burning chrysanthemums
see: me, like him, will always know losing everything
i want my face pooled with water,
glittering back moonlight
of their names we won’t remember.
i want to know i can drown before
a bullet finds joy in speed.
i want you to know the last time i cried,
i was thinking about love & who i’d give
my last words & who’d make sure
the chrysanthemums were cremated too
& if i’d know a love that could send me off
with the kind of hurt a god gets off to—
not dying & dying & not.
hang my eyes above the gods
so they won’t have to get used to seeing
how i see my blackness is seen.
J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker and poet. He is one of the inaugural Co-MISSION Fellows at Links Hall and 2017 3Arts Make a Wave grantee. His poems are forthcoming in GIANTHOLGOY and have appeared in The Shade Journal, Propter Nos, The Body Manifold, Bird’s Thumb, 3rd Language, and Calamus Journal.