One Poem by ​Lyrik Courtney


               it is nothing new. ‘slut’ one closed circuit
short of rupture, rapture, derivative of
               immolation explicit. i am functionally a keyhole

               for everyone else’s desire.
all of my teachers said i was a good girl but now
               i am a dyke, which presupposes

               the meaninglessness of language, me
the engine that stops & starts. so i commit
               to nothing but laziness: sloth a blade i sharpen.

               i reciprocate any gentle touch with teeth
less white than some can stand. yes, i have hurt myself
               & others before. self-harm is kin to surveillance,

               the pleasure of kissing
               with eyes. yes, i will
               kiss you, yes, i identify.
               i evade most forms of


               & like any kind of door, fold under the hands
of a woman. the pities of sex are what bifurcate
               secrecy from silence, a kind of lexical play for kestrels

               at the window. i like to watch them trumpet
in riotous formations. remember what was said
               about circuits? make of it another childhood game.

               electricity also yields a song,

               & this is plain enough work, to corral the particles
‘til they leak fire, ‘til it becomes easy—o’d. open unto them
               your tongue. see then the shape of a future

               oozing, eager to fuck.

Lyrik Courtney is a June Fellow of the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets (2019) and the Adroit Summer Mentorship (2017). They are a recipient of the Janef Newman Preston Prize and the Betty W. Stoffel Award, and have been published in journals such as Liminality, Ninth Letter, The Puritan, and Strange Horizons. You can find them on Twitter at @lyrk_crtny.