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Nocturne: Beheaded

By Saeed Jones

.for Thapelo Makutle

All throat now      already brighter than the stars.

I could hold you in my song. Sotto voce, tremble

against me: a breeze slips in, cools my blood

to garnet      bed stained with stones, cold and finally

useless            I Orpheo,       I lyre.  Down river, even damned

with hum, there is room for your cry in my mouth       Sweet,

sweet sotto voce, I sang your moan until       the machete

swung      then I kept singing. I eyeless,      I eternal.

The guards hold blades to the sky and cut the dark open.

Do you hear me raining        from the wound? My tongue

is a kingdom       You live there.

Added: Monday, July 21, 2014  /  Jones's poem took First Place in the Split This Rock 2013 Poetry Contest. We are grateful to Mark Doty, judge of the 2013 contest.
Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University – Newark. His chapbook When The Only Light is Fire is available from Sibling Rivalry Press. His work has recently appeared in Ebony, The Rumpus, Guernica, Hayden's Ferry Review and Quarterly West. He is the recipient of fellowships from Queer / Arts / Mentors and Cave Canem and several Pushcart Prize nominations. In February 2013, he will join BuzzFeed as the editor of BuzzFeed LGBT.

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