1 Thank god he stuck his tongue out. When I was twelve I was in danger of taking my body seriously. I thought the ache in my nipple was priceless. I thought I should stay very still and compare it to a button, a china saucer, a flash in a car side-mirror, so I could name the ache either big or little, then keep it forever. He blew no one a kiss, then turned into a maw. After I saw him, when a wish moved in my pants. I nurtured it. I stalked around my room kicking my feet up just like him, making a big deal of my lips. I was my own big boy. I wouldn't admit it then, but be definitely cocks his hip as if he is his own little girl. 2 People ask me--I make up interviews while I brush my teeth--"So, what do you remember best about your childhood?" I say mostly the drive toward Chicago. Feeling as if I'm being slowly pressed against the skyline. Hoping to break a window. Mostly quick handfuls of boys' skin. Summer twilights that took forever to get rid of. Mostly Mick Jagger. 3 How do I explain my hungry stare? My Friday night spent changing clothes? My love for travel? I rewind the way he says "now" with so much roof of the mouth. I rewind until I get a clear image of myself: I'm telling the joke he taught me about my body. My mouth is stretched open so I don't laugh. My hands are pretending to have just discovered my own face. My name is written out in metal studs across my little pink jumper. I've got a mirror and a good idea of the way I want my face to look. When I glance sideways my smile should twitch as if a funny picture of me is taped up inside the corner of my eye. A picture where my hair is combed over each shoulder, my breasts are well-supported, and my teeth barely show. A picture where I'm trying hard to say "beautiful." He always says "This is my skinny rib cage, my one, two chest hairs." That's all he ever says. Think of a bird with no feathers or think of a hundred lips bruising every inch of his skin. There are no pictures of him hoping he said the right thing.
The arch in the bridge. The moment of architecture. The island where you lost your mother's keys. The photo she sent of someone who looks like her walking to the point where the land becomes reminiscent of dissolving of flesh. The trees stamped onto our minds like traumas are supposed to be. The frightening blanks where the stores were. The sense the owners died. How many people killed by logs, do you think, over the years? The moon sitting greedily on your house. The carrying of one another when young, light, and poisoned. The doorsteps we were left on. The fox scat. The extra points in school. Who knew how prominently quarries featured? Only once or twice in a lifetime does one find the suicide or hear the primordial screaming. The towns nearby that survive on museums of their earlier burning. The dreams set in neighbor's houses. The mounds with hooves and bones sticking out. The gentle sloping. We will always be swimmers digging into the thaw. The former newness. The various cuts of meat. The places cats won't go. The climbing out onto the banks. The naked man working harmlessly in the woods. Like a milkweed or fox you are something that parted the dirt here. The rotting that sets in when you leave.