Back to Issue Twenty-Five.

Sext to absalom

Finalist for the 2018 Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program
Previously appeared in Sixth Finch

In an attempt to look regal I lopped
off the head of a black snake

The small tissues in my chest tore
& patterned more beautifully

The sparkle of my boyhood
rose, in my throat, & sang

When asked why I will say someone
told me I am an ugly bag of bones

I will say yes, I split the snake
against the promise of my own becoming

Let me explain: somewhere a boy
swallows his own monstrous tongue

Somewhere a boy shatters another boy
then kisses his knuckles, one by one

He is named the most beautiful boy
in the whole goddamn country

He is more beautiful than the snake
unwound in black on crabgrass

More beautiful than me: sweat
& scales blessing my skin, Father

More beautiful than a thing
that starts & ends broken

Look, I am jealous
because you had a life

& I had two bodies, neither
of which I knew how to use 




Finalist for the 2018 Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program
Previously appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal

All my Junes passed
like blown milkweed & still
I was unloved   The doctor

pressed my cock
said does it hurt
& all the things

I had done swirled
in my throat   O
what a storm I was

Sucking rust off coins
because there was no milk
in the house   kicking

at the earth until something
kicked back   wiping
my body clean of itself

trying & trying
to be the big dumb sea
O berries smashed to my lips

O head of wheat  O want
star-ugly & so bright—
to be anything other than—

O night fallen like grandfather
from the roof
& all the women rushing—

O to be the boy in bell-bottoms
heart water-boarded
never the orchid in his mother’s vase. 



Forster 25.png

Aidan Forster is a high school senior in the creative writing program at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina. His work has been honored by the National YoungArts Foundation, the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Awards, the Poetry Society of America, and the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, among others. His work appears in or is forthcoming from Best New Poets 2017BOAATColumbia Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. His debut chapbook of poems, Exit Pastoral, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2018.

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