oh, master of blades, king of tender
-headed grace, take my scalp in your hands
perfect me, make me a man of edges & waves
the sharpest ocean to ever cut
eyes with you from across the shop.
sir, I surrender my neck & whiskers above
my lip, they are yours. your denim the only thing
between my knee & what makes you a sir at all,
is this not love making? a prelude to birth?
how skin must press skin to make a something new?
I am new, only in your hands. I have done this
business too. I pay you how they paid me,
to come close & change a body, to clip away
until the man can’t recognize his own image
in the water. oh, the water. wash me, sir,
demand my mane & toes to curl, drown my skull
in your palms, dry me, grab the razor & finish me,
your precise breath on my spine, make me look
—Danez Smith, Oakland, CA