Noah LeBien

To strip your sweat-weighty

           soul from your back

           and let it drop to the ground
           with a sickening

zero—in the mirror to

grin and watch as a few lines of
Vallejo slip through your gums like

           tiny rivulets of blood,
           pooling in the little divot
           of the raw oyster

of your mouth. The curtain
at the end of your hand

           covers nothing, not

           even the silence of your
           family, friends; who told you

what you are to them—though
the whole point of this was

           the rather terrifying social
           acknowledgement of your
           autonomy, which just went

wrong, so wrong. And to still feel
ridiculous. The mirror won’t
wash off. To still feel

           the yearning, the physical
           searching at the edge of your lips
           for the face that is no longer

there; so where is that lover who once
shared this violence with you,

this visceral dream?

           Como un hombre que soy y que he sufrido—
           like the man that you are and the
           man that you have suffered?