exit study

Earlier in the history           of your small body

boys chased each other     & mocked


the copper taste of shame crawling

up their throats.      Isn’t it funny


how metal reverses          almost religiously.

A child of gods with blood on his stomach


versus that same child     grown up, licking

the carpet        of a strange man’s apartment.


You wear the soft wood of the closet door

until you scar over.       What Orpheus did


to his beloved        under the cave’s cover;

hushed lover performing violence as foreplay


then salve to forget.       Later a man undresses

another man on the floor of a shooting range.


They grab fistfuls of skin to feel big, taking turns

inside of each other.                  See how I’ll vessel


any living verb.      Danger your reflection to feed

my eyes.       Shame atrophying in the night. See how


pity lights like gunpowder—keeping nobody warm.

Eurydice turned around then walked freely


                                                      back into hell.



Duncan Slagle is a queer poet and performer from Alaska & then Minnesota. He currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a First Wave Scholar. He is the winner of the 2018 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. His chapbook Father Hunt is forthcoming online from L'Éphémère Review. A 2018 Best of the Net nominee, his poems appear at BOAAT Journal, Frontier Poetry, & Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. He loves birds.