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Benjamin Goldberg

Pronouns: He/Him

1 Poem

Fugue With Chemical Restraints &

    New Roommate


Fugue With Chemical Restraints & New Roommate


                        —With a line from Roger Reeves



The wages of thought are peeled gauze      this window mesh is steel, wrought,


            & cutting blizzards into diamonds       these floors so orange in hall light


rooms seem pocketed from dispensary shelves       each hour swallows me


                             each hour must lift its tongue       before it sleeps


            in the other bed, a boy       is sentenced by his dreams


                            tattooed lightning       branches from his eyelids to his lashes


shaved head, Reich flag for a back—       in this brief, animated word


            the alchemy’s familiar       take his shape, take half my blood


                          & all my name       add fields, add razor wire by the acre

this makes nations, cloud cover       & all that happens under

            a lover’s finger, decades later,       tracing sweat along a collarbone

                      until he wakes, the ditches       bursting into flowers

                                     he can’t name      this world will break again     

            but tonight I’m made to love         more wildly than I’m made to end       

                             it’s 1:00 a.m. & we are boys        for now—hungry, awake,


             & tasting every fruit       an icicle becomes in floodlight


                           we forget our shoes had laces     tonight, he learns my name

Benjamin Goldberg’s (he/him) poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRYWest BranchTriQuarterlyBlackbirdBest New Poets 2014 & 2020Verse Daily, & elsewhere.

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