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By Kayleb Rae Candrilli

but all I want to do is marry them on a beach


that refuses to take itself too seriously.


So much of our lives has been serious.


Over time, I’ve learned that love is most astonishing


when it persists after learning where we come from.


When I bring my partner to my childhood home


it is all bullets and needles and trash bags held


at arm’s length. It is my estranged father’s damp


bed of cardboard and cigar boxes filled


with gauze and tarnished spoons. It is hard


to clean a home, but it is harder to clean


the memory of it. When I was young, my


father would light lavender candles and shoot


up. Now, my partner and I light a fire that will


burn all traces of the family that lived here.


Black plastic smoke curdles up, and loose bullets


discharge in the flames. My partner holds


my hand as gunfire rings through


the birch trees. Though this is almost


beautiful, it is not. And if I’m being honest,


my partner and I spend most of our time


on earth feeding one another citrus fruits


and enough strength to go on. Every morning


I pack them half a grapefruit and some sugar.


And they tell me it’s just sweet enough.


Source: Poetry (May 2019)

  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Kayleb Rae Candrilli
Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of All the Gay Saints (Saturnalia Books, 2020) and What Runs Over (YesYes Books, 2017). See More By This Poet

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