Poetry: “Swallowed Whole” by Christopher Latin


Swallowed Whole

even my god/  can be colonized

even my body/  is a preexisting condition

but what/ of love/  do we have to be ashamed

—from a version of “Crimson Ring,” a poem for Sasha Wall


screaming         is the best way to not be silent             mouthful          seizure of want

night’s long teeth                     sweetheart       how do i hold the weight of this final grief

for the worst part of a good while       i have been freighted    foolish boy       scrubbing blood from

the tired breadth          of his lover’s feet        calloused         crushed            in the morning when

because it is morning    red light splits itself between haphazard blinds            like the halves of a

peach               sweet lovers         i cannot be dragged out           from memory              you cannot be

dragged at all   faggot breath at dusk               at dawn            sunset              is the light’s way

of leaving us alone       and who           in all their strange bipedal form            has been known to

half a peach     and not to eat it whole             please   teach me how to eat    with my mouth closed

and forget        for once           to say grace

listen                to the boy who speaks in cursive

confetti foaming out from his lips        his teeth           tombstone       bullet   flag frozen over

the day-bright page      again    marked in ink   as my hands are shaking          as i light

the wrong end of a cigarette    misspell my last name  contemplate the concept of contemplation as

somewhere       a boy    who looks just like me as your name     looks up the word want           and reads it

as your name

because lovely              i keep waiting               for even war                to come home

to you

dearest father lay me down      et cetera           because everything now           feels like i am

sitting in a room           choke-full of snakes     and humdark   but smelling the scent of roses and

great spirit           what else to call heaven           but a woman or man  who moves        with you

but my love is not available to sign autographs                        but is to answer questions


they will call this love     or anxiety           but i call this    everything in the world is happening right now

so something    somewhere      must be going wrong   being halved    being swallowed whole

until we, children, make it go right again

Christopher Latin is a poet, a pansexual POC and an avid reader from Houston, Texas. He currently attends Huston-Tillotson University in Austin where he majors in English. You can find his work published/forthcoming in his university’s literary magazine 900 Chicon and in The Ellis Review. When he is not writing he is busy spending too much money on books or trying to find size 13 platforms.

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