Jayson Keery

Leave her alone

And now what.
I’m stuck on a carousel
seemingly in pursuit of a
young child humping her horse.

            These things never end well.
            Behind me, the aristocracy
            in their carriage, cementing
            blame on my back.

Beside me, a gray man
on a fixed horse in pursuit
of nothing. Blameless
with his withered balls.

            I think he’s about to die.
            I think this carousel will stop
            and the man will die and the
            child will quit humping and

now what. We are told
the carousel song is called
Me and My Shadow. Indeed,
the light on my back casts.

              Everyone is chasing a high
              or a low, a shadow, a small
              death. Me. Bobbing on bare
              back, the eyeline of every father

shifting. Nervous the child
reveals too much. Hissing her
off the horse. Shes tumbles
to the outer decadence

              of the karmic wheel. Something
              to suck on awaits her if she holds
              still for the camera. The song ends.
              A mother whisks the child away

from me, no doubt, clearly
chasing her. Clearly short-circuiting
the fathers with my frenetic crotch.
I am too old to be alone. Or not old

              enough. Blameless. The man
              dies and now what.

Jayson Keery is based in Western Massachusetts, where they completed their MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They are the author of The Choice is Real (Metatron Press, 2023) and the chapbook Astroturf (o•blēk editions, edited by Peter Gizzi, 2022). They have been anthologized in Mundus Press’s Nocturnal Properties, Nightboat Books' We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, and Pilot Press London's A Queer Anthology of Rage. They received the 2022 Metatron Press Prize for Rising Authors, selected by Fariha Róisín, and the 2021 Daniel and Merrily Glosband MFA Fellowship, selected by Wendy Xu. A complete list of publications, awards, and interviews live online at JaysonKeery.com.