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Vol. 2: 

On Identity

[If You Can]
Call It Dancing

poem by Stephen Jackson

for Pablo

Looking into, looking through
the mason jar
             half full of water
he says,
             I never knew I could feel
             such grotesque feelings.

He takes a drink
             and a bite of the pizza
             we ordered after dancing
as if the water was holy, as if
             the pizza was my body.

If you can call it dancing —
             the fingers of our hands entwined
             and moving up and down
             I felt his breath, as we turned
             in circles and arcs
coming in close
             pulling away, acting crazy —
though we didn’t kiss
             we did, almost.

And I don’t want people to look
at the glass of water, or the pizza
or the beautiful sweat of his upper lip
and think about me, Why him.

I want them to look
            at the tree I planted in his name,
to say, Here’s some shade and
             I never thought
             we’d get any relief from this heat.


Stephen Jackson lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. Other work is forthcoming or appears in 433, The American Journal of Poetry, Hole in the Head Review, Impossible Archetype, The Inflectionist Review, Stone of Madness Press, and S/WORD, as well as on the International Human Rights Art Festival Publishes platform. @fortyoddcrows

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