To Right

There is no point in talking
about the sacrifices.
I know better than to try
to shame. You think there’s nothing
to discuss, that I am here,
head lowered, to apologize
for my mistakes, my ragged coat,
my infinite lack of manners.
I will admit I’ve failed
to learn your certainty or the grace
of a line drawn straight.
I’ve grown tired of your stale
tongue, the thrust of your long i,
your history of upstanding and erect.

The truth is one man’s story
I’ve heard too many times, preached
from podiums and barroom floors.
I want to name your violence,
dismantle the altar inside my chest,
the one where I am told to bow
and kneel. And when you say
I’ve been unfair, that I’ve left out
important facts, it’s then I taste
the sweetness of your breath. Look
at the way my voice has narrowed,
the way my throat constricts,
the way any mouth will tighten
saying correct, correct, correct.