by Kaeli Behr


Two bastards lay in the bed of a creek

Wet and tired and angry

Although the anger has fizzled into soggy irritation

Sticking out tongues and tossing half hearted insults

The boys’ busted lips tint the drops of water on their faces pink

They must be best friends

Or maybe they despise one another

Who is to say

Their mothers will both kiss their scratches all better regardless


Two bastards lay in a bed, unfortunately, together

They kick each other

And push

And scowl

But their mothers kiss their foreheads and hands and tell them to behave

It’s only for one night

So they turn their backs

And they sleep

Stewing in something not quite friendship

But far past hatred


Two bastards lay in a bed of ruined flowers

There was a brawl

The blossoms; the casualties

Yellow streaks and purple patches

Bloom on skin

Fair and tanned and scratched and kissed

Kiss it better

Just like your mother

Just like my mother

Just like summer and spring and winter and fall

The fall into madness

Or maybe the fall into something beyond companionable silence


Two bastards lay in a bed of tousled sheets

No busted lips are needed to tint their faces pink

There was no brawl

There are no wounds to press kisses to

There are sleepy eyes

Dark curls on white pillows

freckled shoulders catching the light

Steady pulses in the columns of throats and the insides of wrists

Healing kisses are substituted 

For tender smiles and

‘Keep me in this moment’ kisses


Two bastards lay in beds side by side

Thin blankets and a clean smell

There was no anger

No brawl

No moment to be kept in

That moment had passed

Too fast

Because following the law can’t save you from the ones who don’t

When they were supposed to yield

Now the monitors beep consistently

Matching the pulses in the columns of throats and the insides of wrists

There are wounds to kiss better

But who will do the kissing?

Two machines beeping.

One machine beeping.


One bastard lays in a bed that used to be shared

He looks up


The ceiling is spotless,

But blurred by something

By what?

The water is no longer tinted pink from busted lips

And it is no longer from the creek

But the bastard’s eyes

It is clear and salty and silent


That’s why the ceiling is blurred

Because one bastard lays in a bed on his own

And one beautiful beautiful man lays in a bed of dirt

By the bed of the creek and the bed of replanted flowers

No longer ruined

He can kiss his mother’s forehead

And his mother in law’s hands

And the dirt

And the flowers

And the sheets

And his own pulsing wrist

He can kiss it all better

All better

He could


But the bastards are ruined now.