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 PoetsAlways CrashingCosmonauts AvenueRust + Moth, and elsewhere.