Death Wish

By Josh Alex Baker

I ask when
is the last time you returned yourself to yourself. I
am a hypocrite to make
you answer what I cannot. Love
is a death wish between two men bold enough to believe in it. To
love you is to fade daily. To leave you
is to die sooner. When I
was a boy, I would try
to see how long I could hold my breath. With-
holding would become a weapon one day. Each
theft, my pride and possession. Every stroke
of midnight brings its own lost slipper. Full of
beg, I wait for a prince longing to give my
breath back to me. Heretic tongue,
I will never admit what he means to
me. Will say
he was simply a game I
could not pass up. Love
is a death wish between you
and the you you’re becoming. I will never admit to
him that his love feels like a tease
from God. A gift I
only deserve as prelude to punishment. Love
is a bluff  between goodbye and forever. You
give yourself to the gamble, to
the breathlessness that is a hammer
on your chest. I
will never admit what his love
is to me. Could you
blame me? Firm as ice, given over to
the power of his touch. Left to melt
into a nothingness that I
no longer recognize. Love
is a death wish, paid in blood.  Just for you.

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