“They” and “The Mountain Where our Bones Showed Through” by Jesse Swire


Sleek bold body
bound by expectations
by gendered declarations
forced to function in conversations
split in twain by ‘his’ + ‘her’, no ‘they’

How to navigate this intimate space
the gravity of my word choice
clear on your face
we lie naked, our skins interlaced
and melt any presumptions
all give + no take

How to navigate this tender space
my tongue stayed so as not to make
verbal mistakes
let our bodies communicate
replace the inadequacies of English
those pronouns you hate


Your fantasy, your dream
incompatible, of course

I’m fancy, serene descending to the ball
most beautiful, painted, butterfly eyelashes
in a dress green
matching eyes shine divine
blinking, flapping my butterfly wings
in time to your clacking suede heel,

you’ve waited a short lifetime for me to
wear the dress

bound proudly
black bowtie loudly announces
the Belle belongs to your
your libido blinks calmly,
eye contact held longingly
tracking my descent
clack, clack, clack

your fantasy, your dream
incompatible, of course

I wanted to meet you on the mountain
where our bones showed through
and you wanted me
just to be seen with you

The Mountain Where our Bones Showed Through

All this free time is costing me a fortune
my pallet’s too rich, I know I can’t afford it

fingers fall free on keys killing boredom
a tease of release, slow thaw to a freeze unleashed
gradually in
of separation, dull memories
sensations of the elations
carved into my cells

a star died for you, exploded in the vast deepness of space
so that eventually you’d
grab my face with your face
and leave footprints on my heart.

my cells wonder if
from the start
we were binary suns,
trapped in each other’s gravity,
rotating ever closer, hot containments of fusion
maintaining the illusion of separation

we’d spun too close, finally
the fiction of binary ended in an explosion
the likes of which our galaxy
had never seen

when we stood on that basketball court on that
monastic mountaintop and had this particular
binary star system metaphor talk
with undertones flying ad hoc, pointless subtlety
you said to me
‘aren’t we just the fucking most Indie movie right now’
and I was wearing your dead father’s jean jacket and a beanie
and black jeans with paint stains, super skinny
and your American Spirit smoke tendrils clawed
with comforting pleasure,
your generous body wrapped
in an 80’s wool sweater
I replied somewhere along the lines of
‘this is what John Green wishes he could capture’
but as I said it,
no eruption of laugher no avoiding the matter
that we knew, us two, nothing new, nothing new

lovers rediscovering impermanence.

Jesse Swire grew up in DC and wound up in shitty SoCal sprawl before heading off to Europe. He writes poetry mostly, sometimes lyric essays. Time collapses when he sees long-lost friends, the present moment bleeding into crystallized memories. He identifies heavily with Delirium who was Delight. 

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