by Kayleb Candrilli
After Hernan Bas’ The Immaculate Lactation of Saint Bernard
We play chess and I want to ask you the difference between a bishop and a rook, but instead you tell me your favorite saint is the one that keeps me safe when I fly. You only speak elliptically and so I’ve learned to light lavender candles and lasso the moon. When you haul your queen off the back line, she owns the catwalk and I beg you for a quick death, a stiletto through the heart. But what you offer is often not what I ask for, and that is our agreement. You call me your butch, your boy. You call me your dove and light my feathers on fire because what I asked for was a glass of water. You wrap your lips around my nipples and tell me I’m all milk and mint, meteor and mother. When you say checkmate, I come for you. And in your sleep, I listen as you whisper that our children would have been immaculate.
Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over, winner of the 2016 Pamet River Prize and forthcoming with YesYes Books. They also serve as the non-fiction editor of the Black Warrior Review and are published or forthcoming in Rattle, Puerto del Sol, Booth, CutBank, Muzzle, The New Orleans Review, and others. You can read more of their work here.
Photo Credit: Diya Chaudhuri