|Back in America, we’re still waiting for boys to die queerly. We’ve learned to expect it: the cops parked at the mailbox & ringing the doorbell, a mother afraid to answer, burying her scream in an apron in a moonlit kitchen. In Berlin, in the translation of afternoon, I catch the sallow faces of boys gone crepuscular in a Tiergarten creek, the masculine blush of my sunburnt lover fanning himself on a green bench. I forget clear blessings each day. Sunlight, for instance, amidst a halogen city—or peace, or soldiers whose ghosts laze like spider silk from trees down to dirt. I want to believe we may never depend on sunlight again. I want to believe I may never use the bat I keep next to my bed. But I know better—I know mothers grieving sons across oceans, sons drafted & undrafted, sons blurred & unblurred in queerness. Could those I love one day know this mailbox, this kitchen, its doorbell & ring?|
Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbooks Makeshift Cathedral and Hook. His work received a 2020 Pushcart Prize for Poetry and has appeared in AGNI, Best New Poets, Crazyhorse, New England Review, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. Peter is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal, as well as an MFA candidate and Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at New York University.