Monday, May 15, 2017




He already had a body
Two in fact
But he wanted a different one
Needed a younger one
Of his own
A confused doe
One of those you’re
Supposed to kiss
Lips closed
In affection
Not open-mouthed
Like a rabid walrus
Whiskers cutting scars
Flippers bruising breastbones
Tail flapping obscene
The heft of all that blubber
Pinning down a life
Crushing it like a
Bulb underfoot
Pieces shooting everywhere


The History Of Their Handprints

It was the second fire
Years after the garage
Had burnt down
I came home from
Night church
The light switches
Wouldn’t work
I didn’t smell smoke
Right away but heard
My kitten Christopher
Mewling downstairs
The hallway door
Leading there was closed
And in the basement
The shell of my brother’s
Bedroom had become
Charred crimson cinders
Each slat of wood
Resembling red rebar
Or long stove coils
In the smoky haze
I scooped up Chris
Went to a neighbor
Dialed the fire department
They brought an investigator
Who grilled me
Out on the damp lawn
Until it grew so dark
I could no longer see
His expression or
Determine if he was
Actually serious
He pointed questions
Was I resentful my
Parents had left me
While they lived
Somewhere in Idaho
Did I want retribution
Were there issues
I had with them
That would lead me
To set my own house on fire
I said
Of course not
I never said how
In those years
Each day was spent
Hustling the demons
That buzzed around
My shallow skull
Like a hive of
Angry wasps
Sometimes drilling
Their stingers
Straight through
My hippocampus
I never said I
Was actually thrilled
My parents were living
Someplace other than here
Where the history
Of their handprints
Still haunted everything
Darker than
The thickest smoke
Glowing brighter
Than any oven coil
Burning everything
To ash
Again and again
And again


A Boy’s Manhood

We went to
Different churches
Every other month
This time Catholic
When the priest mentioned
Something about St. Peter
My brother pointed
At his crotch and chuckled
We were young then and
Didn’t yet call our penises
Dicks or Cocks
Or even Boners
They were just our Peters
It struck me as funny
My brother too
We laughed into our palms
Pretending we were coughing
From the pulpit
The priest dressed in
A milky-silk robe snickered
Trying to ignore us
Mother said Shush
With those eyes that
Always signaled danger
But we couldn’t stop giggling
And then our giggling only
Made us giggle harder
This all about St. Peter
Or a Peter
A Willy
Juvenile names
For a boy’s manhood
At home afterward
Dad called us out to
The open yard
With Mom peeking
Through the sink window
He made us take our
Pants down
In broad daylight
Neighbors close by
Who might watch
He said You know
What this is for
Though his voice
Wasn’t harsh at all
Though he swung
The familiar belt
Over our bare asses
Taking turns with each of us
Swack! here Swack! there
Naturally it burned but
We were still giggling
At the end of the beating
Pulling up my shorts
I wondered what
St. Peter thought
About a couple of
Foolish boys finally
Out on a lark for once
I pictured him with
A hand pressed to his face
Camouflaging his laughter
From the rest of the saints
With their bowed heads
Dutifully subservient
Prepared to receive
Eat the body
Drink the blood
Ensure their salvation

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