Rushing Pittman

when the night rubbed against the night as cold hands rub against cold hands


I’m not fried
fishing not catching
any rays today
just sat down
on this sofa finally
full of me
sweet how the
outside world discreetly
turns a shoulder
as if I’m lazy &
to look at
I don’t have
miniature compasses
inside my fingertips
just this
water-logged fern
so wet it’s turning
& yellower
there’s a stranger
stealing cars
from my apartment
I lock my windows
when my neighbors
pass I tell
them to hush
their lives are loud
no one should
be so demanding
in this town
there’s a boy
peering down
the nozzle
of a gun
& somewhere
there’s a boy
who’s denied
a bathroom
because a birth
certificate doesn’t
match – what?
I’m telling
my neighbors
“these yard people
coming every
Monday wake me
& I shouldn’t
be woken when
there’s so much else
to care about
like the sun
into that pond
& frying
every fish”
yet I’m still
a hungry drain
gulping every
sunset as I take
my shirt off by
the communal pool
my healthy scars trace
red lines under my nipples
where my old self
lived so miserably
I remember her
once on a
blistering day
deep in the throat
of Alabama
she caught
fish till her skin
burned raw
didn’t even
throw the babies


not my father, my father
would never choose this
or my mother, no one
would think to choose this
possibly an old man in a hut
with five legs & wrinkled lips
thought I was funny
to look at & so, of course, I became
or perhaps a toad with a big brain
& an open mind thought
yes, this will be him
or all the planets & stars met
& decided on my being
but I am too small for planets & stars
to decide on my being
maybe when I was infant
I was laid on my back just so
& slept longer than necessary
& now I am the way I am
or I read my being somewhere
& forgot I read it
& became that person I read
or maybe I met myself in a neighbor
who I don’t quite recall
or I daydreamed myself
when the night rubbed against the night
as cold hands rub against cold hands
& the only thing my body could make
was fake music, so fake & I was tired
& distracted & incurable
so I sifted through a mound of faces
picked the one I wanted
& gave myself a gift

RUSHING PITTMAN is a trans & queer man living in Western Massachusetts. His poetry has appeared in Queen Mobs Teahouse, The Knicknackery, Toad, and PHANTOM. He is the author of the chapbooks Mad Dances for Mad Kings (Factory Hollow Press, 2015) and There Is One Crow That Will Not Stop Cawing (Another New Calligraphy, 2016). He earned his MFA at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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