portion of the artwork for Grayson Goga's poetry

Back Nine
Grayson Goga

Thin lightning through
your eyelid plays wristwatch:
I am late for work. I pull
                                    into the country club and
                                    tuck in the starchy top you leant me.

Fuzz bleeds through the
speakers, filling up the jeep—
good thing I lock it. Good thing I
                                 look away. God keeps
promises of sin only swimming in head,
when I know I’m close to tasting—     when my
knuckles scrape the sidewalk               when you

Pick me up, stumbling forward,
nose weaving bare chest hairs.
I am the boy, swallowing you:
alcoholic sweat, teeth folded back,
sugary gums packed with chew,
                                    smelling spearmint clean,
                                    like your older sister,
                                    an early school teacher’s
                                    closet or             my

first day of work at the office park
where you sit on your car,
waiting, telling me it’s all
                                    square, square, squares
                                    on the way home—

screeching on past town hall
like always, like slick banshees, tipping time for
delayed consequences—youth’s blessing, I suppose.
I spit colors,
naked from the sunroof,
catching gnats like stars on my lips.

                                    My thin lips on your thinnest smile,
                                    overcome by a rush of blood when
                                    I smack you after the masquerade,
and beg—on my knees—for you to know an act of love.

As I sneak into the dining hall, the boss—
a puckered flame—applauds through his crystal pelvis,
laughs at the shirt (oversized, crumpled)

unties my tennis shoes, hides them in the stables,
washes me in the cellar sink, and sends me out
with a tray of meridian cocktails on tiny glass legs.
Everyone’s wearing a lampshade in the great hall. They talk at

last of forbidding contact.
I bite off my fingernails in a bathroom stall
and stare at the portrait of

a pink-necked green pigeon,
unable to lean on a damn thing like I’ve

lost all faith in birds or in the things that take
photographs of birds

so I dive into the toilet,
swim the pipes like a tadpole,

sidebar my uncertainty, lick my stomach,
and step out onto the silvery fairway,
knowing I am long, older and

dipped in petrichor.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 59 | Spring/Summer 2022