In the moment that Daniel quite literally took your
breath away, you still heard the alarm in your mother’s
voice on the phone in your hand when you stopped
speaking. His hands around your throat were warm as
always, his familiar weight pinning you against a wall.
You defaulted to your senses to define the scene
because you simply lacked the emotional cognizance to
understand such violence after a simple
miscommunication regarding a broken laptop. As a
result, you were dominated in that moment just by how
damn good he smelled.
Warmth to the cold during Michigan's changing
seasons. The flowering of the dogwoods. The rise of
the corn. The harvest. The slow coat of ice. The cold.
Let us address John’s conception of queerness via the
observation same-sex power dynamics and their
interplay with the environment. To set the scene: one
partner is a gymnast, capable of flexibility and power,
precise and strong. The other, a man with the slight
build of a soccer player, small and quick, a runner with
corrective lenses. Let us establish a predator-prey
relationship between the two wherein the gymnast
hunts the glasses-wearing soccer player after six
months of physio-emotional contact: clasped hands on
the banks of the Huron River during the fire of the
sugar maples, a reassuring touch on the shoulder
during the Thanksgiving meal, sharing warmth on an
arctic trek across Ann Arbor to a hot bowl of noodles
at Tomukun Ramen.
As prey living in the same building, what good is
spotting a predator around a corner and how effective
is running in a hallway? If he were to flee outside, what
of visibility in the falling snow or crossing sheets of ice
on the street?
John Constantine Tobin is a PhD Student from Maryland in the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi in Poetry, where he also teaches College Composition, Technical Writing, and World Literature. He is a Co-founder of Merfolk Games in Shanghai, received his MFA from the University of Baltimore, and his BA from The University of Michigan. You can find his recent poems in Beyond Queer Words and Alluvium - the Journal of Literary Shanghai.