You start by saying you’d rather live anywhere

else, and jump from the weather to roadwork to how 

the lack of gay bars in this town makes you itch. You swear

you saw a guy at Wal-Mart slick his hair


with Vaseline. I never did that, but I know

boys who did: jocks with camo caps and torn leather

boots. I’m still crammed in the same state with different kinds 

of clueless guys. I look at you, and you raise 


another shot in salute. I’m gin-lipped and racing

my fingers through my bale of hair. It’s easy

for a boy who’s spent his life at the edge of orchards

to believe in rebirth. Everyone from the Midwest stocks


curses in their cheeks. We serve our spite

on plates of cheese. We sing Bob Dylan

to our cattle. Listen, I could be your boy. I could be unshaved

arms, the voice to break each morning like a lamp.


Just tell me you want to stay, to see 

how every storm blots a rainbow over the beach.

I want your fists in a sand dune. I want you

to lick the gristle caught between my teeth. 

I know what it’s like to have the smallest parade.


Brian Czyzyk is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at Purdue University. Originally from Northern Michigan, he has work published and forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Whiskey Island, Midwestern Gothic, Nimrod, and elsewhere. He wishes you the best. Follow him on Twitter, @bczyzykwrites.