Sex, Kink, and the Erotic: Three Poems by Taylor Byas

Poem In Which I Watch You Slip Away With My Own Eyes

Moments after you curated my undoings 
on your tongue, we lay in silence. 
My bed sheet a museum 

of introductions—your palm greeting the ditch 
between my thigh and backside,
your two-fingered 

come-hither to which I said hello, hello, 
and oohh—the silence in which 
my neck buttered

itself with your teeth’s sickle-curve. I should 
tell you, no one prepared me
for this; the tension

drum-stretched, Trojan-thin, and how suddenly 
you didn’t know what to do 
with your hands. 

Everything I could offer in this moment was
a check for you to bounce,
and God 

the quiet you kept me in. So we laid there, beyond 
our years, like an old couple
who had already

said everything they needed to to one another. 
I waited for the routine we hadn’t
yet formed, for you

to turn over after it was all done, your back to me.
My only reassurance, the first 
thundering of your snore.

Joking About the Pandemic, A Friend Texts The Group Chat “I’ve Unhoed Myself”
Considering Jason B. Crawford

Let us begin in the garden, hoe in hand,
the rusted scythe as urgent as archeology
which only means it plans to take its time

with the killing. I draw back, dive the blade 
into the packed earth until it gashes, makes
the ground beneath me uncertain. Let us

move then to my bedroom, where a man
makes himself too at home between my legs,
where I say I think it’s time for you to go before

the going gets. Stuck up bitch, harmonizing
with the sound of his arms barreling into
the leather sleeves of his biker jacket,

and I catch nothing but a hoe anyways as
the front door clucks it’s tongue, so let us
begin again with the definition. Urban Dictionary

says a hoe is someone who lets any old color pencil
into their sharpener without considering
the word itself has been sharpened already. 

Oxford says to hoe is to dig (earth) or thin out 
and this is closer to the truth, as men have lost 
all the air in their lungs, have been emptied

beneath me. Let us return to the text message—
“I’ve unhoed myself” they say, meaning they
are the agent of the act, have robbed other men

of their spit. Here, let me translate—I’ve unhoed
myself 🡪 I’ve pulled myself from loose soil 🡪 I’ve 
re-whittled the word as gauze to pack my wound.

About Taylor Byas

Taylor Byas is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is now a second year PhD student and Yates scholar at the University of Cincinnati, and an Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus. She was the 1st place winner of both the Poetry Super Highway and the Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contests, and a finalist for the Frontier OPEN Prize. Her chapbook, Bloodwarm, is forthcoming from Variant Lit this summer. She is represented by Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Agency.