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Kayleb Rae Candrilli

After Hernan Bas’ Two cowards at the monument to courage


All I’ve ever heard is everything you say, voice sounding of peaks, valleys, my heart erratic on the laundry line. And though this place is awful flat, I want your mouth open, to hike with you as the sun sets. Against a club wall you wrap your hand around my throat because I dare you to, because I say, you can’t. We are 15 again, or almost 25, all slut and come, and too many emotions brick-mortared in. I want to tell you that you make me feel powerfully small. For that, I want to live in your pocket, be a bat in your palm. I would sonar up the length of your lifeline and build you a very tiny sustainable home. I wish I hadn’t drunk everything you offered and gotten hammered in turn. In a desert, you would be my dehydrated mirage. But in Alabama my eyes are monsoons I can’t see through. When you wrapped your lips around my breasts in the bathroom, for the first and last time, I have to ask, what came out? If I guess your answer: beer, glitter, malt liquor, shots of traitorous blood. If your hands weren’t still around my neck, I’d tell you what you already know, I could love you better sober.  

Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over, forthcoming with YesYes Books and winner of the Pamet River Prize. They live in Philadelphia with their super rad partner. 

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