Who You’re About to Be
This new boy is trying not to be another
version of the boy who chewed out your insides.
Who chewed, rearranged, and then put back your insides.
And he’s not. He has different eyes, another voice, a sweeter grin.
And in a way, he’s much more terrifying.
I try to shrug it off,
but sometimes I look at him
& for a second he has that other boy’s face on.
In a way, every boy’s the boy who chewed out your insides.
Every girl is either the boy, or your mother.
So where’s the man with the large chin who was your father?
I always look for him near New Jersey.
I haven’t yet realized that with various sorts of chins,
in various places inside and out of the U.S.,
he is everywhere; how many replicas there can be of a father.
I haven’t yet realized that a boy who chewed out someone’s insides
became my father, or that I could one day become
my father, chew out someone’s insides, probably my own.
But the boy, the thing that gets you about the boy
is that he looks at you with tenderness, & nesting in the tenderness,
with a small clicking sound like a minute hand or teeth,
a desire to devour you.
You’ve looked at another person that way yourself, with nothing
but hunger ticking in your throat.
You’ve looked and wanted to take everything sweet
without having to know. Said you did want to know but actually
not wanted to.
When you think you see what looks like it
ignite, flare its matchlight over his face—
when it calls to you across such a short space, a couple feet
of mattress, a few inches of air, the time it takes
to get to the door, be down the stairs, run
down the buckling sidewalks
without tripping as fast as you can—you’re there,
ripping into a hard sprint, gone, gone
but still with him in that bed, & still the both of you
slowly then quickly then slowly becoming
the ones you wanted, the ones you feared.