The little flying squirrel, the Southern one
the one called Glaucomys, is the one you
really wish you could wear like an eye patch
because it fits your face perfectly, biologically
and etymologically, and because your lady’s
sweet on particular kinds of men and this is
a picture you have seen in her sketch book
surrounded by a bunch of arrows, all hanging
from the words, “this is what goes in my bed.”
Yes, some direction for my fingers is necessary
but my congratulations are all in order, so we
can be sure we did something amazing today.
And though I carry with me a real fear of never
saying anything this perfect again, the tenderness
under my tongue is a good enough memory to
run my teeth over. Little squirrel, like a gold star
you will remind me that once I was pretty great
at kissing my girlfriend in all her favorite places.
That once, I too came down from the clouds
to the clay in north Georgia, falling deeply into
everything one seems fall into with their girlfriends.
I’m afraid that my Midwestern fears are lost
in the drawl of a Southern translation. When
I say I am scared, know that I’m frostbitten, black
and tired of guessing what my breath will look like
when finally and fully exhaled. Down here, though
fear is a hurricane whirling everything you love
around you, around you, around you, and you
are made to list everything that you miss. This
you say. And this. And this, and this, and this too.
It’s torture. This is a hurricaneing. Okay, yes,
of course I’m sorry for making light, but only
as much as any sun would be. Which is to say
fear is a part of every revolution, which is to say
I think scared is the only thing I have left to feel.
The only thing that can be felt. Which brings
me back to frostbite. Which brings me too to
the ceasing of our circulatory systems, which
brings me just short of everything. I am lost, yes
and no amount of stars will save me, their fields
far too deep, their points leading to a Jesus I’ve
never known. I saw a Christmas pageant once where
everyone dressed in towels and bathrobes. Their
hurricane had passed and what was left was simply
a great emergence from a bath; their souls all
shaking, red, and sweaty, and ready for bed.
B.J. Love teaches at Savannah State University and co-hosts, with Erika Jo Brown, Seersucker Shots. Additionally, he makes a podcast he thinks you may like. Find it here: Pretty Lit.org.