what do I do with the boy
who snuck his way inside
me on my childhood playground?

the day other kids shoved
my body into dirt & christened me
he appeared, boy, wicked

feral, swallowing my stride.
the boy who grows my beard
& slaps my face when I wax

my mustache. he was there too
the day on Ben’s couch, wearing
my skirt, ranking the girls

in class. again, his legs slamming
concrete, my chest heaving
when we ran from cops

the night they busted the river party
again when I smashed the jellyfish
into the sand & grinded it down

to a pink useless pulp. together
we watched it throb, open & close
begging for wet. he was there.

I have a boy inside me & I don’t know
how to tell people. like when
that man held me down & we said no.

& my boy, my lovely boy
he clawed & bit & cried just like
we were back on the dirt playground

scraped wrists & steady pounding
his eyes wide, until
he stopped making a sound.


From If They Come For Us: Poems (One World/ Random House, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Fatimah Asghar. Used with the permission of the poet.