Vincen Gregory Yu

White boy with periwinkle hair. 

White teeth, wide eyes. 

White boy whose cheeks 

my father caught me graze with my lips, 

last-ditch effort to perfect 

a memory of white skin, white smell 

in the gleam of morning. 

Don’t be scared, white boy, it isn’t you 

my father wants. It isn’t you 

his one good fist desires. White boy 

whose fist I could fit 

in my mouth like a peach, sweat 

on skin like sweet juice 

sticking to my tongue. 

I know I said I never knew 

my father; he drowned at sea 

before I was born. Now 

you see him, undrowned, un-sea grass 

and dross, hit me with his one good fist, 

then walk away. 

He’d never been to sea, 

it’s a story I made up because 

white boys love stories, 

and you are a boy I love. 

Once in a blue moon, 

he shows up in this town, and I welcome 

the whole of him, stench and fist 

and firm grip on my chin. 

I bleed purple and blue, then pour 

iodine on cotton balls 

I stick on broken skin, then pretend 

I never bled. Do I scare you now, white boy? 

It isn’t love 

you’re meant to comprehend, you 

who’ve known only tenderness. 

Wait for me. 

When he leaves, I’ll return to you. 

Bruised and shaken, I’ll return to you. 

Feast on peaches with you.

Photo credits:
Movie still from Call Me By Your Name (2017)