PrEP Kabuki

Planet, by Karolina Klonowska



When burial. When banquet.

When meadow & its scroll of frailty.

When viewing anatomical

cross-sections of my lymphatic system,

I imagine a finch blooding 

toward an elsewhere 

& I imagine it one thousand times.

When, later, I nick

my finger in the kitchen,

it seems wrong I’m so ready

to jettison what sustains me,

wrong to imagine my body as other

than a dizzying graph of its nights,

a lineage of boys lusted

into contrapuntal ghosts. 

When scalpel. When rippling

orb of milk. When all day

I flicker, Josephenic,

in lace & citrine, the pill

ranging ever southward within me.

When I think infection,

my general practitioner

crowns & uncrowns

my skull with a paper tiara.

When my lover forgets to pull out,

I siren into a sample

section of a dying population.

When I pass a garden,

I inspect each peony

for signs of collapse

& my boyish attar

dissembles into foam. 

When asked where I imagine 

myself in three to ten years,

I conjure a Carolinian parlor

& point to its most exquisite

& improbable candelabra 

as an effigy of my rapidly

approaching absence. 

When asked if I am going to die,

I marvel at my formal ineptitude:

never the quaking hyacinth

teetering behind some handsome ear—

always the shook boy

& his demented mirage of skin—

& when the question repeats itself,

I’ll smash my tetric want

into a poultice of mercy—

my lips edging, suddenly,

nothing, really, like a life. 

About the Author

Aidan Forster · Brown University

Aidan Forster is the author of Exit Pastoral (YesYes Books, 2019) and Wrong June (Honeysuckle Press, 2020). His work appears in Best New Poets 2017, BOAAT, Columbia Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, and Tin House, among others. He is a sophomore at Brown University studying Literary Arts and Public Health. “PrEP Kabuki” first appeared in The Adroit Journal.

About the Artist

Karolina Klonowska 

Karolina Klonowska is a Polish artist and designer. She moved to London at the age of 19 to pursue her dream of becoming an Interior Architect. In her spare time, she paints and experiments with mixed media. You can see more of her works on Instagram @karolina_klonowska. Planet first appeared in Persephone’s Daughters. 

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