in defense of selfies
the sky splitting down the middle & a dark thick mud sliding in through its dress is nothing compared to witnessing the lips of a girl who you once loved spilling her devotion for the boy who is not you, but we don't always get to choose which apocalypse is lucky enough to swallow us. sometimes, the lord’s name is attached to the bullet that was made to press its skin against someone you wish would live forever & it is because of this that i have been holding the ones i love tight to my chest, hoping the comfort that glows between our cheeks lingers for a while. there is only so long before a day that once belonged to us grows its own pair of claws. i know, on occasion, joy must be coaxed from what we are certain is a grave & this is its own kind of work. so, for now, come dance with me for a moment. & of course, i won't forget the way our smiles stretched a new, bright continent across our faces. i won't forget the way the moon’s light took a hold of you & your eager body. here, take this phone & point its open mouth toward whatever it is we have turned into tonight, so we can have proof of how we chose to end this unrelenting week. how the light caught the soft of my face. how my face bloomed into a bundle of diamonds.
the thing about touch
i won't be sentimental with you about the salt falling from the nose of a lover and striking the chest of the beloved while bound inside the hot mouth of an animal they engineered for themselves. no, no romantics, just the two bodies ravenous for the other. tell me about the loneliness that once carried you toward a pair of familiar arms willing to wrap and strike somewhere along your back while holding you close. the sparrow stirred the air with its wings before it became a strike across the sky, before it made a strike against the cloudless window in pursuit of further freedom. let the precious warmth that i am after not strike me from flight when i am finally in proximity. let the quick violence at the back of a gun’s mouth not strike the bullet meant to unmake me; i pray the ruckus is birthed by better terms. from inside a fresh darkness, the match strikes what is invisible as a means to drag it back into the gaze of light. drag me, lover, your fingers inside my back. i pray, someday, we all make contact.
Bernard (he/him) is a Bahamian immigrant, poet and MFA candidate at New York University. He is an Assistant Editor at Washington Square Review, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and has had work published or forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, The Common, Pinwheel, SLICE Magazine and the Best New Poets 2017 anthology, among others. Unfortunately, his most pressing goal is to convince you that, more than winter, fall is a god-awful season.