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.
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.
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.