Photo by Devyn Springer.

body smoke

my friends ask about you as if your side of the bed still ain't on fire
the closet is a furnace that almost killed us both

my cousins still joke about our relationship
trace their fingers over scars they cannot see
or pay their weight in rainy nights, with warm meals to understand
i swallow the pain in silence

it is all in fun, right
they cannot possibly know that black boys with black sisters can’t be strong all the time we cannot be both the punchline and the applause

the memory of us dangling from the door & hurting the way we did making habits and then breaking that shit as if you were substance to be abused as if i was just flesh and wasn’t also tired

while the soul smolders in a past fire           ​to make mockery of
what heaven offered us                   ​​to bear a smile

  • W.J. Lofton


    W.J. Lofton is the author of These Flowers were Held by Broken Vases, a poetry collection dedicated to creating dialogue around grief, social injustice, and healing. He currently works in Qatar, working alongside the United States military. His second collection of poetry A Garden for Black Boys is scheduled to release in the fall.