I am Trying to Break Your Heart

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