issue 11 FEATURE

Danez Smith

i. splay

In the latest dream, the virus turns to rice, I cut open his stomach & spend all night, bare-handed, bare-everything, placing one grain on my tongue at a time. I am what I eat. I look at my hands and they are his hands. I see a gash on my leg and see his mouth. I see my face in the mirror and I see his face and the face of the man who gave it to him and the man that gave it to him and the woman who gave it to him and everyone is foaming at the mouth, everyone is a dog left hungry in a chocolate factory. We are simple beast, we didn't know the poison was so sweet.

ii. play

I invited him over and he stayed forever. I feed him all my bread, the old peppers turned to mush & fluorescent mold, the chicken thighs unthawed & boneless. He ask for more so I give him my left leg. He ask for more & I give him my lungs & lips. More still, and there goes my bladder. He eats it all, all of me, eats the whole damn house, & I live forever in him or maybe it's the other way around. I swallowed. I swallowed him whole & didn't even notice him thrashing inside me. 

iii. lay

My bed is never alone now. 
I sleep with all the descendants of the virus. 

Our father, some cooked up or coked up God
burned down the last tree in Eden

& God said let there be glass in his blood
& saw it was not good, but left it

& the father passed it on
& now my blood sparkles his ancient name 

iv. Ay!

Wats gud? 

Chillin, horny, u? 

I could stuff you with good dick & secrets. 

r u clean? 

As a whistle in the mud

When is the last time you were tested? 

This morning, by God

What are you into? 

iTop, no kissing, I get into domination & death a little

Can you host? 

Naw you? 

Yeah. My roommate is home, we gotta keep it down.

Then I'll put your face in the pillow.
I'll be so quiet you won't notice
I've been in you for months. 

v. Y ________? 


Anyone at all

This time


In gods name

Does he let this happen


Danez Smith is the author of [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014) and the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including a Cave Canem fellowship and the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

Issue 11 / Broadside by Layne Ransom