by Mateo Lara

for my Queer community

stoke disgrace out of a smoke-filled room
say this boy is a husk of a boy, not a boy
is jewel            is juniper berry           is crushed        into wet.
listen, they describe the room: a no-nothing pulsing with division
there is you     &         there is us
hunters                        &         monsters        
lingering, promising these empty fields will emerge with bloom.
come along into ramshackle house filled with spiders
dividing with wings and webs
stroking sharp knife across a tear-streaked cheek, glinting
they break the boy down
fracture his ribs
another ‘not a boy’ for sacrifice
they say the violence will make sense in the future  
but the boy who is not a boy is
not white         not yet                        not       ripe.
there is only tension   flame   between
a crack in the surface   made way        for a broken promise
a relapse          a tremor           in         an        aching              throat.

back to University & College Poetry Prizes