— for Andrew McMillan
You have grown enough to know
that everything will kill you if you let it.
The man now beckoning you from his car
might hold you by your throat, choke
the life you have been so careless with.
What are you doing here, you ask
but deny yourself the answer?
You should be in your room studying
or deep asleep, then why you roam these
roads alone? Even the moon is taking
a rest, the sky hardly the sky you love
with stars puncturing the dark. Tonight,
it’s just black like the road beneath
your dirt shoes, lacking in any beauty.
The man is looking and you sense a thrill
in your heart, like one that deer must
feel while hunted. You move towards him,
choosing to throw caution like confetti
into the wind. Maybe you want his hands
on your neck, maybe you want him
to make you feel your own life
not as it seeps out but as it rattles,
like a bird caught in your windpipe.
ASHISH KUMAR SINGH (he/him) is a queer Indian poet whose work has appeared in Passages North, Chestnut Review, Grain, Fourteen Poems, Foglifter, Banshee, and elsewhere. Currently, he serves as an editorial assistant at Visual Verse and a poetry reader at ANMLY.