I Left The Boy Forever

by John Elizabeth Stintzi

John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer, artist, and editor who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize, and the Sator New Works Award, and has been shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Raymond Souster Award. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They are a poetry editor for CV2 and a writing instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute.

I left the boy forever
once, climbing
out the throat of him.

For a time after I perched
upon his shoulder.
For a time (until forever)

I let people see us together—
as one simply divided
like a globe by its parallels.

But how harsh the parallax.
How long the driveway.
How firmly the Loctite

held the cold bolt of me
into his coarse threads.
As my dad taught me,

crouched in a tractor’s gut
with propane and ratchet,
to remove myself from him

I applied heat to stubbornness.
Immolated my tattered self
like a self-suffocating field.

Like the time my dad wired
the flaming, oil-soaked rag
to the rear of his quad

and drove it out across
the pasture, engulfing,
I am far more fertile now.

Air reaches soil.
Coaled turf rots into life.
New green retakes the canvas.

I left the boy forever once.
But I’m ever dragged back
through the gaze of the world.

Every morning I must rise
to the warm light
of his burning.


John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer, artist, and editor who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize, and the Sator New Works Award, and has been shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Raymond Souster Award. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They are a poetry editor for CV2 and a writing instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute.

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