The Territory of a Boy By Isaac Frank

The Territory of a Boy

Tell my parents I’m sorry;
The only grandchild they’ll ever have are these words,
the ones I’ve lent my teeth to – biting through, a kind of skin
outside of my skin, like expensive lingerie,
or loaded dice, or something that makes dying look comfortable
because the only way a boy touches another boy is with a eulogy
pinned to his fingers.

Come here, forgive me that body of yours
our skeletons are crawling out of their closets together, whether
we want them to or not, they come from the ground, slow dancing
finger bones pulling themselves out of a grave we put them in –
how do you feel about nail marks on your back?
It’s kind of a trademark of mine, I need to leave something on
every boy I touch.

You’re at the end of high school and all eyes are on this stage,
you have one minute to speak, the lights are dim for you
and this is how they want it:
I vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
or so help me god,
I will not turn this boy into morse code for me
he will not be something for me to touch only when they’re not looking.

There’s a cute boy with black eyes in the back of the room,
a red plastic cup clutched in one hand, like it’s your hand
well, tell me the meaning of consent
because his eyes are pushing into mine,
and that in itself is a kind of murder, for boys like me.

The girls have something that feels like fabric softener
in the womb of their mouths, but the boys
taste like beers on the couch in the afternoon, the quiet crack
of a soda can,   the gasp that is passed from mouth to mouth;
love so thick you can choke on it, love bleeding into the throat.

Oh boy, you’re wearing a red shirt and I’m pulling it off
It’s funny,
nothing but red, and red means dead    -because boys like me;
you’ve been told we can’t keep our hands to ourselves, we’ll
put them anywhere you’ll let us, so
Pray the Gay away, but the weight of a boys sins are written
backwards across the curve of his lips.

I heard you pray for a witch hunt, but you’re a good boy
and you dress nicely; all firm press, all pant suit, all childhood
lust,           like a tree fort is built in the arch of your back
I’m kissing your neck and I’m kissing and I’m kissing because
tomorrow the purple might not be nearly so kind, because for boys
like us;
we have to love like we’re choking on it, around some people,
the wrong people –            our love is kissing as we fall,
sex like getting caught by the throat.

Amen – a man;
you guys would love him, I promise
the kind of boy you would bring home to your parents, if you
were a girl.                          But you’re not,
and with people like these:
a boy who touches a boy like he touches a girl is the most
unspeakable thing in the room,
and every boy is a boy to die for.
because when you’re gay, every boy is a boy to die for.

By Isaac Frank


Isaac Frank is an eighteen year-old poet and student living in Ontario, Canada. Currently finishing his final year in high school, he hopes to broadly study English Literature with degrees in Political Science and Creative Writing – ever invested in finding ways to become a university professor. His first set of work, “Bad Lines”, has received Poem of the Month publications on Mibba, and he is currently working on a second and more extensive collection of poetry titled “The Stories We’ve Known”. He can often be found drinking cold coffee, surrounded by cats, and crying over other peoples poetry.


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