January 7, 2019

Danez Smith's poem "bloodnectar" was originally published in The Southeast Review 34.2.




brother    our blood intersects in too many ways

in our blood a choir of boys shamed out of church

boys too proud for a condom too broke for the pills

I buried a boy & was buried for it

he was the dirt packed into my mouth

he was a worm discovering my spleen

he was a maggot blooming from my eye

when I look in the mirror I see his shape

I am boy shaped    boy drunk    boy ill    dead boy

when we kissed he tasted like dusttestimony    bloodnectar

what can prayer teach that blood can not

name a god faster than blood

a boy is blood    is a blade    is a god    is a sorry slaughter    a fleshgun

brother    our blood holds so many brothers

our blood is the longest love story

princess whose princes always dissolve & fester

the prince kissed me & turned to smudge

soot in my teeth every time I sing

my body is becoming sugared rot

my lungs are made of honey    sweet    but useless lungs

they gave me no shovel so I turned to my hands, my good jaw

to swallow is a kind of mercy

my laws leave good reason for the dead

my dead in my teeth every time I sing

the gums too filled with the bad blood

brother    our blood is spiked with ghostspit

our blood is drunk & dancing with a knife

everything we touch turns to dirty wind

every time I say your name more dirt falls in my throat




Danez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead, winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection and a finalist for the National Book Award. Danez is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, Homie, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020.



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