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on reading "Derek Jarman's Garden"

Speak to me, friend, long dead
though you are. Tell me of home
there by the sea, of how salt
killed the kale, but spared
the dog-rose. Red Admirals came
to you as they now come to me:
winged and fearless, never far
from our upturned palms.

We suffer a fever, some say,
of tragic proportions. Our sin
is the folly of Sappho, the grief
of Alexander. We are cousin
to mischief, you and I,
my departed brother. You gift
this world with thorny warp
and root-ridden weft.

The quiet house, my still heart,
your books on the table.

It is as if I never left.

AJ's first full-length poetry collection, The Sting of It, was published by Tolsun Books in 2019 and won Best LGBT Book in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.  Their first novel, The Pursued and the Pursuing, was published by DartFrog Blue in 2021 and won 2nd place in the Adult Historical Fiction category of the Reads Rainbow Awards.  AJ holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a full-time English Faculty member at San Juan College.  AJ has been on staff at Strange Horizons since 2012.  You can find them on Twitter and visit their website.
Current Issue
26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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