In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Pastoral, and: Nocturne, and: The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound, and: When Thy King Is a Boy: Black Dance and the Question of Agency in the Quare Body, and: Seed
  • Jabari Jawan Allen (bio)


—with thanks to Alysia Nicole Harris

Two tree-limb-switched heretics born of Baptist parents, we reveled in a Ouija. But the only black spirits we conjured were our own shadows which flickered against the wall like a private screening. Both of us church boys sweltered in June pews, our bodies a new gospel. Our thighs thick as Bibles, four swollen gourds intertwined. Our love took the form of a chance operation & that summer, we had more him than hem on us. We conjured bridges of our reverent tongues near sodden rivers. Slim-hipped hyacinths were affixed against waterlogged bottomlands. Famished, we murdered the crow, sautéed & ate it on the porch. Night loosened its corset to reveal a carcass of restless cicadas. We laid on our backs in the field, our bellies exposed & no—it was not the blackened pasture’s grassy synths that jazzed us then—we were simply drenched in crickets; the chirruping brigade made musics of us. Arias of us. The moss swathed our copper bodies like plantations coiled in jade & you, dear ceramicist, would soothe the sutured wounds of my body with your huge hands. I can still hear the hissing votive of your throat whispering my name like penance.

Basking in the balm of your jeansI sing, This autumn a swan gnawsat the Eucharist in my palms. [End Page 82]


Daddy was a slick devil, so he must have thought my sister hissuccubus; a mud-bone Lilith, her lurid tresses struck shut withigneous flicker when it happened in the black. His cinereous

peepers, glazed over moons which pierced through Tweety Birdjammies. He tended to sissy’s unassuming sinew with his eyes firstso as to handle the unfathered clitoris with the only sort of care

he knew: the briered kind. First, he examined legs, the torquedratios of sweat beneath them. Next, he toyed with nipples honedby the brisk of winter; her boyish chest taught a mannish math

of phalanges & learned quick. Further, his manicured handsbreached the lithe hymn of her hymen. Then something likea thump, a panting finch throated by thorax? Such swift entrance

became the girl. And from her cracked chrysalis sprang a hornedmoth, incarnadined with prying. He stifled cries, seized the wingedbeast mid-flight: a new pet. Some secrets, I’m told, are best kept. [End Page 83]

The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound


His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;amid danger, there is also beauty. When he whips me with the riding cropof his tongue, I curl into the earth’s first question: To desire what exactly?                He has nothingto offer but kisses & semen. Cold inamorato of my nights, he whets flesh,thrashes above me like a black bough. As iron sharpens iron, he sharpensme. The first time I barely had the luxury of screaming so I submittedlike any good catamite. At my master’s thrust, I was hinged to hush. [End Page 84]

First Offering

Like any goodcatamite, I washinged to hush.

My hole, a rosenhalo. I flickereda month of blood.

And what is thismasochism that Ikeep coming back

& coming backfor more, no less?The answer, simple:

To enter the wildvoid of seismic desirewhile still wanting

us to arriveat an answertogether. [End Page 85]

Second Offering

    I want us to arrive at an answer together.      When he moanslike a lilting contralto, I want to be taken    up there with him. My ass in the air, wet with deception.      Thus, his ceaseless pivot. This other tongueof his which offers me no mercy—        Felled lark, that I am. My plumage,    disheveled. Here, in his cage reeking of precum & loud,      there is an ecstasy I still can’t seem to reach. [End Page 86]

Third Offering

And so, there is  an ecstasy I can’t

reach. In...


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pp. 82-91
Launched on MUSE
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