Sand & Silt

Kayleb Rae Candrilli

In the beginning, there was a boywho touched me as he shouldn't have.His hands around my ankles—claustrophobic—a plot of cattails on the water's black silt.We all have a story like this,innocent in its setting, nefarioushow it stays spurred into our bonesas we grow.I think I knew I was a boywhen the boy touched me.I know this boy is nowa violent manwith a large collection of semi-automatic rifles. Some thingsare so absolute. The pointat which rain becomes snow. The wayfruit eventually spoilseven under unblemished skin.If I make a metaphor of my body,it's a desert. One part longing,one part need, the rest withstanding. Of courseI would prefer to be thirstyfor nothing. I'd rather do so muchthan be touched in this angry dark.Violent men want me to be a violent man.Or they want me dead.What a privilege to have an option.

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Photo of Kayleb Rae Candrilli
Photo:
Beowulf Sheehan, 2019

Kayleb Rae Candrilli is the recipient of a Whiting Award and of a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. They are the author of Water I Won’t Touch, All the Gay Saints, and What Runs Over. They live in Philadelphia with their partner.

"Whiting Award winner Candrilli evokes the ever-changing topography of American landscapes—from Wildwood, New Jersey to the Grand Canyon—in order to tap into the beautiful fluidity of their own physical and metaphysical self."
O, The Oprah Magazine

"A candid and tender collection… Candrilli’s poems generously and poignantly invite readers to share in the promise ‘to try and live/ and live and live/ until the earth caves in.'"
—Publishers Weekly

"Candrilli’s poems are intimate, nimble, glinting with tenderness and an astonishing lyricism. The physicality of violence electrifies memory, a refusal to conform and the euphoria of love sweetens the future."
—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine

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