Back to Issue Twenty-Eight.

“grief for the horizontal world”


Everything that I’ve ever done
I keep in a jar marked innocent
so that men can’t touch it.


Most flies tire of gossip
they’ve prayed to be on the wall of.
They roll such funky eyes, yawning


over grownfolks’ most beautiful
business. I sit with hands tied in a lie
behind my own ass, a patient


afro donkey. I am the only trick alive
and with eyes who likes outgrown
acrylics and who likes it when


wind blows a water fountain’s show
onto a sidewalk in a park the size
of Portugal. I think, hard confetti. Yesterday


I am twenty-six and the house
you will rape me in has not been
built yet. Catching my fat reflection


in an hourglass, I don’t seem capable
of creating what I have: a boy with proportions
the size of disaster. Portugal and disaster


are the exact same size for me. My son
is a park and inside of him a water
fountain blows its show onto


styrofoam boardwalks. The house
he will find me odd in has not
been built, yet it’s gorgeous and owned


by men who touch jars
marked capable. I own facts about
Grecian Troy and one popular lie


I hear about Trojans:  If u carry one,
u won’t need it. If u leave it,
u’ll seem clean or


childishly kind.      I kill a fly minding its business
on a sidewalk inside of me today.     Why?    I know I’ll enjoy
the music. As a mother of something black


I owe flies nothing.    Nothing. I owe
nothing.      Remember that.

Courtney Faye Taylor is a winner of the 92Y “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work appears in or is forthcoming from Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, Witness, and elsewhere. Find her online at or on Twitter/Instagram @thecourtcase.


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