Reilly D. Cox
“Stretch forth thy hand and hold me vp,
thou hast a mighty arme, and strong
is thy right hand: in thee therefore I trust,
and will not feare what man can doe vnto me.”
-John Norden, 16th Century Cartographer, Imitation of David
The Irishman sings,
A moment's silence when my baby puts her mouth on me.
I’m afraid of my lovers’ mouths.
As a child, a girl put her mouth
on me and, naked, broke down weeping.
I feel like a whore, she said, and then
she didn’t do that anymore.
As a child, I dreamt of putting my mouth
on strangers and I remember the taste
of salt then. As a child,
I saw an older boy, and he wanted to be seen
by me, and I didn’t like running through the woods
after that. As a child, my father would cut through
the woods until one day a boy made him
put his mouth on him, and then my father
didn’t like cutting through the woods anymore.
As a child, according to Thomas, God
was a trickster, and asked a boy
to put his mouth on God, and the boy
became a corpse after that. Children
don’t know better, but then they know
forever and ever, amen.
Reilly D. Cox is a MFA candidate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where they serve as Design Editor for Black Warrior Review. They attended Washington College and the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. They have work available or forthcoming by the Academy of American Poets, Always Crashing, Cosmonauts Avenue, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere.