Johnny Cade told Ponyboy to stay gold


Ponyboy told me to stay gold, too
I claim that gold over there
make a meal of it[1] / our bodies
crispy cornbread edges /
soak up sweet potato juice
our futures breath-bound /
deserts we cross / we got wildflowers
melting on a sunwet table
we[2] built with nails from our throats
I call dibs on that youth-wrung joy
a kind that basks in its undoing / in the end /
of everything / the day / of us
our knowing / the earth we made so sick
its blood boils[3] / I make a feast of
the end / the end / the end /
say it fast and every second is a beginning
skimming us across a gilded evening
let’s all meet here[4] / in the gap /
of a day we have and have not been given
hi, I say, this is my name what is yours
it’s like we never left / never met
it’s like / maybe we’ll forget everything
so there’s nothing to let go


[1] my god
[2] all of us riddled with holes
[3] my god
[4] none of us holy

Charnell Peters