When I grow up, I want to be an abomination (Tyler Raso)

I have been studying how

to abominate. I take a class

on the weekends where

we touch the frozen coals

of hell with our tongues

and hold hands. I’m taking up

painting too, because I like

being changed by what

I touch. We start every

abomination class

by breaking something: a window,

our father’s watches, a fire

alarm. Never a natural thing,

though we meet outside

even in the rain, which 

holds us like a mouth.

As a budding abomination,

I am practicing how to be

more than myself, how to

crawl up walls, how to

defile like honey the names 

I’ve been given. A typical

exercise involves shedding

first the skin, the bone, the

forests of nerves, the basement

stomach, putting it somewhere

safe, like in a pile of leaves.

What’s left is unnamed, light

but not light, scent but not scent,

memory but not memory, 

____ but not ____ and, and,

and in this not-form we ______

and ______ until we _______

and ______ like stars, like

love, all sharing not-one

not-form, threading the needle

of each other like _______. 

After class, we carry our 

bodies home to set them

in bed, pillowed. I wash my

face and stick my fingernail

between my gums like air. I check

to see if my abomination

teeth have grown in. Not yet.

Not yet, I say aloud. My reflection

flat as a word.


Tyler Raso (they/them) is a poet, essayist, and teacher. Their work is featured or forthcoming in POETRY, Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, Salt Hill Journal, The Journal, and elsewhere. They are the author of the chapbook In my dreams/I love like an idea, winner of the 2022 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest. They currently write, teach, and study in Bloomington, IN, tweeting @spaghettiutopia and websiting at tylerraso.com 


image: MM Kaufman