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POETRY

A Man of My Own Sex

Weston Richey

I ask it of the aliens with voice long
      & angry as the cornfields off I-
            43, throat rattling like my Ford’s

ol’ V8 driving down it when the fuckers
      stole me away. I want but one man,
            I hoarse toward their heads gray & far

too smooth: Only one, with body alike to this
      what can piss as I piss, chew tobacco, spit
            the leftovers into empty Mountain Dew bottles,

throat sturdy to holler soooooie pig pig
      to the sows or belt country road ballads
            at the stars, whiskey on one side, rifle

on the other in my flatbed—no need
      to think of inhuman eyes, jellied black,
            peering on the same salted dark expanse.

The aliens don’t say shit. Tiny
      mouths don’t quiver, no burbling, faces
            blank, just them dim washed-out

dockets beating at my skull
      like claw hammers. Screaming now, I beg:
            You never fell a deer what you don’t kill

or release! Not even God need be
      cruel enough to deny a being a shape
            it craves! Withhold every breath, every

breeze I’ve known! Each inch of wheat field,
      my amber! My squelching tires against fresh-
            boiled blacktop! Burn my country, my state,

the whole of the big blue, all of it
      from my brain! A world empty without
            the men I could love but never be—

no lung packed with tar nor
      finger dexterous with poker cards
            ever got my veins to flow with right

blood! Them bodies I loved,
      what stuffed Wranglers full with man,
            their muscles were made with some-

thing I could know but never feel—
      alien, alien! Show me a dark curl,
            generous thigh or haunch, a smile I might

have myself, a boot what might
      fit on my own foot! Only this
            & your mothership would be home!

The aliens close in but still
      they’re aliens. I cry, tears bitter gas
            station coffee—I cry, oh I wail, I

wail as a banjo. Still silence only,
      beer-can eyes, probe whirring mean
            like a drill, the finest Black & Decker.

Author Photo of Weston Richey
Weston Richey is a writer and academic. Weston earned a BA in philosophy and English from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University—Newark, and is now a PhD student in English at The University of Texas at Austin. Weston’s work has appeared elsewhere in Pigeon Pages, Strange Horizons, and FreezeRay Poetry.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

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