Field Notes on Rough Trade

Aidan Forster

Before I knew anything
My chest became a mirror in which men saw themselves.
A lush bolt of blue silk braided with chest hair.
I called it fate: head bent like a broken king.
I called it fear: sweat & semen blessing me.
I had nothing to throw onto the sheets except myself.
My wound leapt, like a doe, from my back.
All this to say I knew nothing but this sad skin—
Or, in the small space after one man finishes,
Another can begin—a window unlocked after a storm—
Where is thaw? & who will hold me when it comes?
Where are our shirts, one folded within the other?
It’s impossible to tell what I said as men left me:

Aidan Forster is a queer poet from South Carolina. His work appears in Best New Poets 2017, BOAAT, Columbia Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. His debut chapbook of poems, Exit Pastoral, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2018. A 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, his work has been honored by the National YoungArts Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, among others. He will attend Brown University in the fall. He was born in 2000.