your mouth is my grandmother’s.
now she speaks with her dead voice
from your vocal cords.
the sharp vowels try to pin my conscience—
strong consonants devalue my power;
the words themselves leak resin.
wife & children escape her teeth
trying to catch me. she cannot understand
i don’t want either,
that i am not gay because i choose to be
but simply: i am.
her pyramid scheme of love
she drives to me with prayer.
i turn her away with heat.
if my father had not sewn his palms
to my mother’s womb,
i would have never known his existence.
his voice like vinyl, thick & scratched:
barely audible through the skin—
if he had known my ears worked
maybe his voice would have been louder
& he wouldn’t have been afraid to say
i love you.
john compton (b. 1987) is gay poet who lives in kentucky. he lives in a tiny town, with his husband josh and their 3 dogs and 2 cats. he has published 2 books and 5 chapbooks published and forthcoming: trainride elsewhere (august 2016) from Pressed Wafer/tba; stranger in the attic of cloud (tba) from dead man’s press ink; that moan like a saxophone (december 2016) from kindle; ampersand (march 2018) from Plan B Press; a child growing wild inside the mothering womb (june 2020) from ghost city press; i saw god cooking children / paint their bones (oct 2020) from blood pudding press; to wash all the pretty things off my skin (sept 2021) from ethel zine & micro-press. he has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. he has 2 pushcart nominations.