Stubble Burn

A poem by David Ly

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

You wait for him over coffee
because it is innocent so long
as you keep adding sugar.
Sorry I’m late. The last
time he apologized, you turned
yourself into an ex. Keep it innocent.
Keep it innocent. Don’t stop
adding sugar. Add sugar.
Add sugar. Add sugar.

Your mind wanders to how it felt
to spend time in a room that has
never really left you. You
recall giving him too many sweat-laced
secrets. Before you could lick them all
back from his lips, you notice the
glass of water hasn’t fallen
off the nightstand onto the mattress
so maybe it’s all going to be worth it.

So you take him in, his tongue
kind between your thighs.
You’re so my type is lovely
in the moment because that’s
just how romance works. But
when he cums inside, you want
to leave your body. Water spills
onto the mattress. He drips out
of you. Drips. Drips. Drips.

Doggy-style, doggy-breath. He
compliments your amazing ass
in the heat. He helps you
finish with a bite here, here, there.
I’m your rice queen slips through
his teeth and you swallow salty
love. If cum splatters can be
read like tealeaves yours are
shaped like black beetles.

Your skin begins to crawl. His
words hit you when he meant
for them to kiss. He kisses
your sweaty brow and moves
down your neck. His stubble
burns in a way you can’t stand.
A lump forms in your throat and
to stay calm you focus on un-syncing
your breathing from his.

You feel bigger than the skin that
holds you, which he worships. Can
we still have coffee tomorrow? You
promise yourself that’s all you
will have with him from now
on. So long as you keep conversation
innocent, say only what you want,
not what you think he would like. Speak
less sweetly. Less sweet. Less sweet.


“Stubble Burn” is the title poem from David Ly’s chapbook published by Anstruther Press. Other poems from Stubble Burn include “Post” and “Message Received.”

Ly is giving a talk at the Queer Film Festival on August 12.

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