ren hlao

sumac

has short sex+++on your gnarled ankles wets
them++licks them++++++there are less
bees this year++++++++++sumac lays purple blisters stays++++deep into the spring
this year steeps a young vein that stretches like territories
stretches up your fluorescent++thighs hairthin long or short cancer filament
to your ass for summer this year i live

in the purple wastingcabinet next door the light++++++bulb in the kitchen
is a conquered globe of slept-on amber in the shape of a body+++++++that swings
like a scythe weep+++in the cabinet
black pepper acridretch+++++cloves of garlic yellow
onion yellowed coffee filters++++++i cook dinner coarse+++purple potatoes bulbous
ritual sacrament you have sumac again it loves+++at you
again in the dark+++++the wilting cradles you until it hangs you purple

where your father finds you melting purple this year++++++your mother
balls up on the front lawn like litter++sumac dots
the property++swells— is bloated like an altar+++++++breathes black bubbles
swallows probably

nettles
++for riri

++++++the kitchen table on the fourth floor of the copycat
++++++building in baltimore has a tablecloth of cigarette ashes. it’s early morning and ++++++you’re swallowing merlot from a brownstained mason jar and michael

++++++++++++is telling us how it feels
++++++++++++better being fucked
++++++++++++by two men rather than one, how

++++++++++++++++++in orgasm, the vein creases
++++++++++++++++++(that wicked little gardenhose);
++++++++++++++++++we sit wet and splintered.

++++++last night, eroding in acid,
++++++we drank graham’s sour
++++++homebrew, spilt it howling

++++++++++++++++++onto everything. the police
++++++++++++++++++swam up out front
++++++++++++++++++and we threw our bottles down

++++++++++++onto their windshields, fed
++++++++++++our exarcheia. downstairs lipswet
++++++++++++into the street we dragged

++++++++++++++++++knotted treelimbs, pallets, mephitic dumpsters.
++++++++++++++++++blinking bluelit crane cameras
++++++++++++++++++craned their rusted ropenecks,

++++++watched the tiny shivering
++++++cars limp backwards up guilford:
++++++pockmarked, bathed in ache. early today

++++++++++++they came, bang-banged++++the doors
++++++++++++and we howled our ribs into knots,
++++++++++++the sun was a rusted coin.

++++++but heroin is mute and we’re all
++++++coughing porch moths frantic in fragments of light. but you,
++++++bloodsunk in the palm, wound up

++++++++++++++++++by all your wounds, dried
++++++++++++++++++in the thicket;
++++++++++++++++++your stem spat

+++++++++++++++++++++++++bright liquid. but you,
+++++++++++++++++++++++++sunk into the palm, and
+++++++++++++++++++++++++we howled.

ren hlao grew up outside of baltimore, maryland. their work has appeared in online and print publications including Homestead Review, White Stag Publishing, and Dangerous Constellations Journal. they are a queer, Chichimeca artist. they live in san diego, california with their partner and four dogs.

 

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