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"The Night" by Mrityunjay Mohan

The night is a painting on the shore of my mind. It teeters on the edge like a cliff being swallowed by water. My body being eaten by the water. Chewed and spat out in scraps of cloth and crumbs of loose flesh. If I can own something that isn’t mine, I’d own my body. Can I use my to refer to someone I do not possess? It is a one-sided love affair. I call him mine, but he isn’t mine. Can I take him out of his skeletal cave and mold his muscles to perfect? I want to own him like I could own a hardback on the bookshelf in my room. I want to unwrap his loose clothes, unspool the yarn that ties around his hip, shuffle the hair on his feet. The sole of his feet my temple. The top of his head my prison. Can he understand that he can only be owned by the known and not by the grit of the sea at dusk? I want to hold his fat arms in my hands and kiss each side of his temple. Mark my colour on his wet maimed skin. Scars furnishings on the home of his flesh. Can I keep him to my chest in the dark so the light could never see us together? I am only finding a way, forgive me please for my indiscretions and tepid lies. They float in the sea with me. Become sea grit. Loose muscles. Wet skin. In me, a star of him becomes a scar. Can he possess me if I can’t him?

Mrityunjay is a queer, trans, disabled writer of color. Mrityunjay's work has been published or is forthcoming in The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Indianapolis Review, Oyster River Pages, The Masters Review, and elsewhere. He's been awarded scholarships by Sundance Institute, Tin House, The Common, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere. He is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. He's an editor for ANMLY, and he's a reader for the Harvard Review and The Masters Review.

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