André O. Hoilette: Two Poems

water became currency


when water became currency
the skin of our lips peeled and split
bled and splashed regret to caked mud
whose crevices tore land the way glaciers used
to, unearthed lakes, moraine the language of conquest.
the rich had water tanks long before the waters spoiled
billionaires with water towers to dictate your planting
real trickle-down economics to enrich their soil first and
maybe yours or for most of the harvest. some, from the air,
pull ice, but the salt shores shrivel the skin, sinks the
tender pulp of eyes to the skull’s interior, the loose skin
of the dehydrated and me
before, not seeing a thirst building,
vomiting bile and ash


love in the time of covid: spell casting


how to love in this time?
              admit how


you are. that you haven’t
been touched or touched anyone
                                                         in months
how your eyes,
                                            begin to weep
                                                                      at the thought of this truth,
that you’ve done it before,
                            in the celibacy between
                                                                      painters, poets,
                                                                                                  punks, scientists,
                                                                                                                             cellists, queers

how you wish for any hand to extend to you
                            in the dark, to touch your ear, the way you like, to volunteer to be the big spoon

to let themselves be cared for without fear of overwatering.
admit that you are seeing the poets face
                                                         in the windows of salt houses,
                                                                                                  under the threat of city rains.

that your brooding may be too much
                                                         even if the poet came
that there is a convenience, a kindness in having a virus to blame.
              last alone
                                            this alone
                                                                      the year of your mother’s birth
                                            when she was a wish fulfilled
                                                                                     and you a possibility  the year watson found
                                                                                                                                            a double helix,
and salk believing every virus was an universe,
                                                         that would collapse on itself,
                                                                                                  then injected the vaccine for polio, into his love, their children, then himself, knowing he would cripple or save them.

how he wept at their bare arms,
                                                         thrusting where scars would be.

              touch becomes a sin

                                            on your face,
                                                                      their face,
                                                                                                  bellies and inner thighs,
              sin in the way your teeth grazes the ear lobes
                                                                                     a whispering prayer
                                                                      sews close the distance
                                                                                                                 for two, apart

What are you looking for?