Wednesday, April 25, 2012

National Poetry Month: Stephen Mills

"Iranian Boys Hanged for Sodomy, July 2005"
(Stephen Mills)

We have their last photograph,
a magazine cutout of the blind-
folded boys, with nooses round
their necks and masked men
behind. Men with thick hands,
hands that keep everything
in order, everyone blind.

We let the picture drift around
the apartment like an omen
that will one day make perfect
sense. Some mornings I stick it
on the bathroom mirror before
you shave, the next you have it
on the fridge or tucked inside
my O’Hara Collected. Some nights
I slip it in a shoebox marked
“private” and forget we ever cut it

out, but by the following evening
it’s under our mattress as we make
love. Each time I thrust into you,
I’m thrusting into them, creasing
their boyish bodies, one only 16.
On Sunday morning I ask you
if you think the Iranian boys
loved each other like I love you

here in America where true love
must be complicated. You’re sure
they did, believe being hanged together
reeks of romance, of epic novels,
and Hollywood love stories, but
I fear it’s just a case of being
in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All I can see are two terrified boys,
hands bound, about to be hanged
for public view. And I need to know
if it was quick. If the rope did what
ropes are meant to do or if the boys
found freedom in the dark
of their twitching eyelids?

STEPHEN MILLS will read this Saturday in Decatur at Georgia Center for the Book, along with other poets published by Sibling Rivalry Press. His first book, He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, was published in March. The poem "Iranian Boys Hung for Sodomy" refers to the event that occurred on July 19, 2005 when two young men, one rumored to be 16, were publically hanged in Iran. Mills's poems have appeared in The Gay and Lesbian Review, Hoboeye Online Arts Journal, and on Others will soon appear in The New York Quarterly, The Broke Bridge Review, and The Quirk. His blog is Joe's Jacket.

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