after Scott Lifschutz
The same internet that teaches me about body neutrality
and shows me young boys unabashedly loving each other on TikTok
is the same internet where I read about queer futurity and promises deferred.
The same place where @jeffreyjamesfoxx cries when he says: Society stole that from so many of us.
It is the same internet that connects me to James, whom I am grabbing a drink with later,
and which delivers this message from a friend: and this is my coming out text now.
And this one, before my date: I hope you feel exactly like yourself.
Remember your body and breath. My body, which put on clothes this morning,
walked to work, took a shit after lunch, and which, now, stands
in front of a portrait of a naked man. His name is Jerry, we are told, though he remains anonymous,
his back turned to us, depicted on natural, unfinished wood.
He silvers like an emulsion embedded into the birch, its grain indiscernible
from the strokes of the brush, paint rippling like light at the bottom of a pool,
almost transparent, already a ghost. On our date, James, a doctor, reminds me of the pandemic
that filled hospitals with beautiful men. His older colleagues still speak of the grief,
their fear, now, more refined. I have studied my back in a mirror, heavy
with its own set of losses already being forgotten by those who have come after.
Light does not gather in the non-existent dimples above my buttocks.
The paint is not so thick at the crown of my head, which is beginning to reveal
the grain beneath, and is not so perfectly I-woke-up-like-this tousled.
I am painted with a heavier hand, this body with its elbow creases and its spine,
which hurts in the morning and cracks but only when I twist to the right for some reason,
its questionable moles, dry eyes, and delicate right knee—how absurdly unfinished it is—
and yet, if ever I take off my shirt for James, please god! in the absence of screens
(Remember their bodies, their breath), he will see my shoulders falling like wings.
By: Joshua Garcia