For David Kato: A Love Poem: a Ugandan Gay Rights Activist, 1964-2011 – The Feminist Wire

For David Kato: A Love Poem: a Ugandan Gay Rights Activist, 1964-2011

By Joseph Ross


Because my kisses are tender

against your throat.


Because my lips are not the steel hammer

that snaps your neck


in the places God has kissed.

Because my hands beg


the muscles of your back

pleading and massaging


what a blind man with a bible

would shove to the floor.


Because your tongue slides

against mine, two wet bodies


inside our bodies, as close

as lips, as torn skin, as flame.


Because you dared to breathe

air you would later gasp against


my sweating chest, our bodies

lie braided in love’s water.


Because truth is only intimate

with other truths,


this love poem does not lie

on the floor of your living room


where you leak like a true man,

irrigating the Ugandan dirt


with blood it does not deserve.


Joseph Ross is the author of Meeting Bone Man, coming out in April, 2012. He is a poet, twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, whose poems appear in many anthologies including Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality, Full Moon on K Street, and Poetic Voices Without Borders 1 and 2. His work has also been published in a variety of journals including Tidal Basin Review, Poet Lore, Drumvoices Revue, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. In 2007 he co-edited Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture. He directs the Writing Center at Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. and writes regularly at