Grief #913

Saeed Jones

I grieve the boy I killed and the country fashioned out
of his blood stains. I grieve that it was so easy. The knife,
lazy and confident, invading him. This is what love feels like.
I grieve that he believed me. Dumb animal, doe-eyed, ready-made
gift, just another border outlined in barbed wire and crime scene chalk.
I grieve that, even then, I already knew I’d do it again, again, again,
again. I grieve a continent, nations united by the way terror turns
me on, the hot instant between thrust and gasp, “I want you”
and “I had you.” Again, again, again, again. I grieve my face
onto the covers of history books. I grieve the descendants,
dumb animals, dead-eyed, ready-made gifts. This is what love
requires. I grieve that they still believe me.

Saeed Jones is the author of Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as awards from Lambda Literary and the Publishing Triangle in 2015. His memoir How We Fight For Our Lives is forthcoming October 2019 from Simon & Schuster.