Rain swollen. November through the balcony, the sheer width of it.
Dark edge of winter: white tail, trotted fox, gull-dropped shells,
littered with poled light, wooden pier.
Ripples slide-smack a boat’s sleeping hull. Reeds shush. Tongues
take turn, wallow, lay
still. Two bare chests deflate. The storm rests,
a smile pretends he should be trusted: lash out lightning
or love me, pull me close across the cloudy bed, the still-warm pillows.
The storm spits Maybe tomorrow, a sunrise to-be, to-be peeking through.
Through the unpulled, unloved before dawn.
A voyeur beats wings, claps water, a swan
sails free on some voyage through the bruised morning where once
electric sky snakes cracked the horizon. Hours before,
the gypsy mouths of weathered men finally bid their bodies to rest.
Tyler Allen Penny is a queer southern poet, performer, and educator. His poems are forthcoming or have appeared in West Trade Review, Crazyhorse, Best New Poets 2018, Columbia Journal, The Southampton Review, Deep South Magazine, Salt Journal, OF ZOOS, Fearsome Critters: A Millennial Arts Journal, and Typishly. He holds a BA from the University of Mississippi and an MFA from Stony Brook University, where he taught undergraduate poetry and creative writing workshops. Throughout the east end of Long Island, NY, he also taught creative writing in schools and libraries for the Young Artists and Writers Project and the Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner Teen Writing Program. A finalist for the 2021 Princemere Poetry Prize, he’s the recipient of the Joseph Kelly Prize in Creative Writing from Stony Brook Southampton, a Distinguished Travel Award to attend the Tin House Winter Workshop, and artist residencies at Taleamor Park and the Vermont Studio Center. He’s performed his poetry for the USDAC People’s State of the Union at the Parrish Art Museum, Writers Speak Wednesdays and Poetry Street Riverhead. He now teaches and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his cat, Lucie Brock-Broido.