From the Archive: National Poetry Month Day 8: “cum shot” by Danez Smith


This was originally published at The Rumpus on April 8, 2015.

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cum shot


how long has it been since

his legs stretched towards heaven?

lord, let him be, don’t strike him

for believing he’s you. he’s high

this morning, he called his body

his body & believed it

someone touched his body

did not pirate him away

someone rocked him

so good he danced to the music

of his own bones’ surrender

he was blessed enough to plead mercy

lord. let him wade the dead sea

of another boy’s quick milk

the church burned down

but people have gathered

shouting glory amongst the dust

Mars is still a soft red candle

on night’s thin sheet

it’s a good day to end a war

since that man did what he did

the boy’s been quiet, scarred

by a false god’s cross, but Lord

let ruin end here, let him find honey

where there was once a slaughter

let him enter the lion’s cage

& find a field of lilacs

let this be the healing

& if not, let it be



Danez Smith is the author of “[insert] boy” (YesYes Books, 2014), a finalist the Norma Farber First Book Award, and a second collection to be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. He is a 2014 Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and will begin studies for an MFA at the University of MI-Ann Arbor this fall.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →