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.
Copyright © 2001 by Catie Rosemurgy. Reprinted from My Favorite Apocalypse with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. All rights reserved.