Malik Thompson

“Fluid Bodies,” Alex Romero


On the grounds of a torched cathedral,
he empties himself into the stranger’s

open throat—a fevered rutting
beset with low moans & few other sounds:

city crickets & their futile clamor,
ghost bus hurtling through vacant roads—

hour of black air & the leaden hum
of streetlamps. Moonlight pooling

in the small of his back, he reaches
out, right thumb grazing the stranger’s

swollen lips. & carefully wipes his mouth

Malik Thompson (he/his) is a Black queer man from Washington, DC. He is a bibliophile and baked goods connoisseur. He works as a bookstore manager for Black, queer-owned Loyalty Bookstores in Petworth, DC, and served for two years as co-chair of OutWrite DC, an annual LGBTQ+ literary festival. Malik has received fellowships Lambda Literary, Tin House, and the DC Commision on the Arts & Humanities, among other organizations, and his poems are featured in Split This Rock’s The Quarry, the Queer Cookies Cookbook, and DC Queer Pride Poem-a-Day, among other publications.

On Pleasure: “My sexual awakening began in city parks. Therefore, parks recur as a landscape within my work, a landscape in which lines bisecting the urban from the pastoral begin to dissolve. Amidst widespread vilification of men seeking out public, anonymous sex from one another, gestures of tenderness are overlooked. However unwelcoming their surroundings, in spite of implicit risk, these strangers extract catharsis from one another—callously, but parting with an act of care.”