Taylor Byas

Sonnet for Longing Being Mistaken for Sadness

Honey, the sun’s no longer centrifugal.
For weeks, its yellow failed to pull me
out of unliving; the hip-dug dip my usual
position leaves in bed. I lay here, fully

naked, unsexed. The only remnants of life—
the tetris of take-out boxes castling around
the nightstand, noodles dried and circling a knife
like legs, and again, the honey-thickened sound

of lonely. Even the doctor is bodiless,
a pixelated ghost who can’t prescribe
me what I need—a hand to pull me out of this
by my thighs, and oh, an epiphany. I transcribe

alone as unloved. I touch myself, then don’t.
I will a man to call, knowing he won’t.

Taylor Byas is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is now a PhD candidate and Yates scholar at the University of Cincinnati, and an Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus. She is the 1st place winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway, the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contests, the 2021 Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the 2020 Frontier OPEN Prize. She is the author of the chapbook Bloodwarm from Variant Lit, a second chapbook, Shutter, from Madhouse Press, and her debut full-length, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times, forthcoming from Soft Skull Press in Spring of 2023. She is represented by Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Agency.