< Issue 2 > Southern Hospitality by Danez Smith your feet tired, I know you been escaping since your first crawl into symmetric skin. this body is a safe house. come drink, you look thirsty. I set aside a few jars of my blood let it ferment till sweet till plum, salt, and ash marry on your tongue Hungry? I have a little fat back gravy dripping from parts I forgot you could taste I threw my bones in with the mustards and beans My heart’s already battered so I fried it up with some onions and gizzards would you like some? come on in, I can turn this twin mattress into paradise while you blink or breathe everything your body wants here is natural licks timely as heartflicker, as drum come on, I have all the music and reefer a man can crave. Come rest on my tongue. I know how to gorge how to make this throat sing and clog. I know how to swallow and bury. come, join this bashful graveyard. My throat stays crowded with ghost too shamed to look at each other. Don’t worry, your secret is safe in this stomach, the lord’s judgment no match for bile and spit. you know how many men have died in my mouth? You know they call it heaven? hell of a sin, isn’t it? ancient as the battle between salvation and flesh, but don’t worry about that war here, I’ve built this skin into a closet, stuffed with everything good you need. Come in, I got teeth and nails stashed in the other room, there is nothing here to mark you, just come until you can’t. Leave God for Sundays. lay here in my mouth. come lay your burden down. fill my belly up.