Southern, Belled.

By Emma Bolden


Baby ain’t a bellow      ain’t an
option ain’t  a  good  night  a  night  for  fighting  all
thatsex skinnied up in the bones  a fair shimmy
in a sense of tight is right is  this  bud’s  for    you a
metaphor  I’d rather strip down to    the  brute  of  it
the bruise of no opposition in this partyhis tank
screamed wife-
          beater & why was I     born into the
belief that flesh is a mystery only       a beating can
solve. There are better options than betting  on the
bad to stay a  boy, than  stuffing  the  cabinet  wax  full
with figures waning to the pale inside    a hanger a
coat un-
     bodied beneath a sky of mirrora  frenzied
frieze  of  cameras clicked  into  the  parchment rolled
into a fist is not a blessing but a hand
the salt of the earth the manwhite stole  from under
eyes & angels & exits I pray for just one rule to law all
flesh as the freedom to travel every last forever a road
laid  by  a  language  that  recognizes “we’does not
have an I for an eye