sporklet 15
Matt Mitchell

My sweetheart won a John Glenn science award

in grade school.


To be called an astronaut without touching

space, that must be both beautiful and devastating.


She told me I could go

to the moon if I want,


even if I never won

a John Glenn science award.


When I was 6, I wanted to be

a professional basketball player.


I’m 22 now, and I still don’t know

how to be that.


I once fell in love with my art teacher,

who had a tattoo of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom


on his right thigh.


When someone drew a dick in permanent marker

on the geometry teacher’s floor,


the art teacher said


it wasn’t Matt,

or else that dick would be much better drawn.


We only have 5 billion years until the Sun dies.

If it really loved us, it’d give us 7 billion more


and some good head on the way out.


My therapist asks me where all of this improper use

of yearning comes from.


I say: in 3rd grade, I dug a moat

on the playground and called it God.


And then I cursed when someone tore it apart,

banished to 10 days on the wall for saying fuck.


In 8th grade, I quit basketball

because I shot jumpers from the chest


and ran laps for it.


I say: it is my gender that killed all the buffalo

and apologized with nickels.


It is this thicket of mediocre road rage glare

that destroyed pangaea.


We also invented Coke Zero.

How could you love any of this.


Nobody should.


It’s all incomplete,

scrapped, and restarted.


She says I am missing the point,

that we all just want to be loved and touched


by a sky unaware of all the ways

we have been left undone.


C’mon, she says, let’s go see it.

While we’ve still got some light.

Someday I’ll Love Matt Mitchell
after Ocean Vuong and Frank O’Hara, with a lyric from “Devil Town” by Daniel Johnston

After I make Christmas lights out of fireflies
and edible thongs,


I sneak off into the hushed mint darkness
and climb through lighthouses


just to kiss someone else’s god
at a picture show.


My lungs breathe in essential oils
of lavender and beach rot,


spilled Chipotle bowls and bras
sagging over door handles.


This body, it grows inwards with age
and all of its stomachs full


of x-ray technician bloat.


I press a flashlight against my back
and watch the testosterone curdle red


in my stomach like a Rothko.


When I go back home, I kiss my dog
on his forehead and thank him


for never understanding gender,


for noticing the change in my voice, the deepened
phonation, post-HRT, and only caring


about the familiarity of my hands.


I bet John Wayne would look at this body
and ask Hollywood to make it burn on screen.


Why would I ever want to be a cowboy
when I am too busy being a wound


in someone else’s mouth.
Too busy being a vampire in a devil town,


a throbbing armageddon of pulsating
sex chromosomes.


I have been called so many names but my own.


My mother planned on calling me McKenzie

before I came out a Matthew.


I was born into a body

already reserved for someone else.


But this dick, inchoate but breathing,

is finally becoming its own.


I’m ashamed to say I will probably

lose it when Bogdanovich dies.


Everything I’m made of

is also everything that was left behind.


A Cleveland Clinic psychologist says
it will get better soon.


But how soon
before someone reads my book


and calls me a hermaphrodite fag
on Goodreads?


I mean, I’ve only got 60 minutes to eat
all of this body and get my picture on the wall


next to all the others who ate theirs, too.


So let’s eat it all up,
before our stomachs say we’re full.


Let’s say we deserve to live,

before we watch all of it fall away.

Matt Mitchell is a sellout double-parked in Columbus, Ohio. He’s the author of The Neon Hollywood Cowboy (Big Lucks, 2021). He tweets @matt_mitchell48 and is always in love.