I am hoping

to hang your head

 

on my wall

in shame—

 

the slightest taxidermy

thrills me. Fish

 

forever leaping

on the living-room wall—

 

paperweights made

from skulls

 

of small animals.

I want to wear

 

your smile on my sleeve

& break

 

your heart like a horse

or its leg. Weeks of being

 

bucked off, then

all at once, you’re mine—

 

Put me down.

 

I want to call you thine

 

to tattoo mercy

along my knuckles. I assassin

 

down the avenue

I hope

 

to have you forgotten

by noon. To know you

 

by your knees

palsied by prayer.

 

Loneliness is a science—

 

consider the taxidermist’s

tender hands

 

trying to keep from losing

skin, the bobcat grin

 

of the living.

 

–Kevin Young