Daniel Brennan

A Ghazal Where Death Should Be Standing

Every time I shut the bedroom door, it aches in its silence;
that’s how you measure coming and going these days — silence.

He runs fingers through my hair, I do the same in return.
When we finish as all good sinners do, it’s heat. Silence.

I add him to the rolodex, the compendium of bodies that
have hung in the sour wake of my bed, the baking silence.

Lonely is an adjective, yes, but it’s also a verb, at least
for me: lonely yourself into stillness. Lonely your limbs into silence.

These days I’m journaling. I’m told it brings peace. Or inflection.
Or whatever buzz word Twitter tells me it does. Accessible silence.

I catalog the ways my body can’t exist as it’s supposed to,
the ways it fails to materialize a daydream, succumbing to silence.

Silence when I look in the mirror. Silence when I touch myself. That
silence when a man sees through me to another man, silence

an elegy designed for my blood and bone and flesh and fat.
I do another bump. Or three. Polish the bag. Why not bathe in the silence?

Let the night howl like a pack of mangy beasts, teeth grinding in
the dark, circling, clever, aware of their power, their silence.

It’s not the end. Because that’s too easy, too clean. Simple and concise
in ways I could never be. Late at night with my reflection’s silence.

Now: staring into a cosmos of my own creation, skin throbbing and ready
for the harvest, every edge a blade, a promise, a blooming silence.

People never want to leave the party, do they? Drinks full, lips
red, lies told to the point of truth. We’re waiting out the silence.

So I find another man. I take him to bed. I forget his name, his face,
his inability to hunger for this, the warm heat of my body’s silence.

In the dark, in the dark, in the dark, I sing this prayer, I tell my heart
to stay in a little longer in this silence silence silence.

DANIEL BRENNAN (he/him) is a queer writer and coffee devotee from New York, where he lives in an apartment being slowly overtaken by stacks of books. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Passengers Journal, The Banyan Review, Birdcoat Quarterly, Sky Island Journal, and Hive Avenue. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram: @dannyjbrennan

Read more by Daniel Brennan

Poem in Passengers Journal
Poem in Innisfree Poetry Journal
Poem in Black Coffee Review