Washington University Poetry Prize I, 2016

boy

by Katy Przybylski

boy
noun. /boi/

  1. a male child, from birth to full growth, especially one less than 18 years of age.

             When I was in middle school, my hair was always cut to my ears because my
             mom didn’t have time to brush it so between classes for bathroom breaks I
             would always get pushed to the boys line by the other boys in my class who
             would later grow up to be bad boys with tragic acne that bad girls fell in love
             with and when I saw them in the hallways in high school crossed my arms a
             little tighter so when they saw me they would see protruding balloon breasts
             and not boy-bob haircut.


   2.  a young man who lacks maturity, judgment, etc.

             A boy that I dated in high school broke up with me by saying he was tired of
             being a lopsided relationship. He was exactly the kind of boy that would say
             things like that because he wanted you to ask what he meant so that his words
             had more time to worm themselves inside your brain and scratch little gashes
             in you before the sentence was finished. When I did ask he blew smoke in my
             face that said “It’s where one person feels everything and the other person feels
             nothing at all.” But I bet now he wishes he didn’t say that because shortly after
             we broke up he got kicked out of college and then of his house and now all he’s
             got are his punk boy band songs that he writes wishing that he could get out of
             his hometown and longing for another lopsided relationship.

   3.  a man socializing in a group of men

             He told his boys that I stare at him after we have sex. I want to tell his boys
             that I’m not that girl—I don’t take fucking and force it into love’s cookie cutter
             mold but when someone for a moment makes your body a part of their body,
             their absence aches like the feeling of growing out of your own skin. It hurts
             how your bones feel after a two-hour sleep or the void in your stomach that
             hunger breeds. You start to think these feelings satiable, start to think that
             maybe it might be nice to be looked at for bit, start to think that wouldn’t be
             unreasonable.

   4.  a son

             I can’t think about boys without thinking of you and that time you called me a
             fucking cunt and slammed me into a locker and told me I couldn’t walk away
             from you if I loved you because your dad left you when you were young and I
             wouldn’t do that would I? I wouldn’t leave someone I loved even though blood
             was beading up like tiny particles of fear exploding in my mouth and the look
             from every student who passed by in the hallway told me that this wasn’t love
             but none of them stopped to show me what was.


exclamation.

  1. used to express intensity of feeling

             Oh, boy! I will exclaim when a boy straightens my shriveled spine and plucks
             my petals open again because now I am wilted, soggy silk dripping wrinkled
             flowerbuds, trampled garden full of hopeless botanicals but boy, I do bloom in
             sun.

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