Sanctuary

p
o
e
m
s

my man was committed
to an asylum as a child
wild thing    fungal
phylum    virus

thought they could fix him
that he could be fixed

his sickness too much
too much his diagnoses

drugs & boys & language
& boys & drugs

he was given a pill & made old<
he was made cold in his skin

i try to place myself
inside the conversion clinic
when i touch his back
as he sleeps

baby queer with bangs
hanged like dead men before his face
arms a collision of scissor wars

& o the shower steam that rose behind him
as his man who was also a child
& also committed
entered him for the first time

between the shifts
of the nurses

took him raw in the open stall
with only the salve of soap
between them blood

i enter him like this
brushing the bodies
from his face
tasting the plastic
restraints

sam sax is the author of Madness (2017), winner of the National Poetry Series. He’s received fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony, and Lambda Literary.

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