He had a figure skater’s thighs, had memorized paragraphs of Proust in French, drank black coffee, laughed. I wanted the shapes of his skin on my sofa, his language of demise and rebirth, the words he made that made me feel different. Already my father was gone, my sister to discover her passion in the hills past Veracruz. And in my house-- where my mother lit candles at Lent—to be different was a curse. I looked at my body, my impatient face, the fine black hairs that made a path hard center toward soft becoming. So he might kiss me there and make me the man I was meant to be, in a novel, mesmerized. Sometimes he came on a Sunday with a packet of poems; how good Octavio Paz, how good the light between his lines. Too shy to kiss him or to touch his hand, I crawled away to the kitchen where my mother sat awkwardly, a woman with a pencil, a woman and a purple flow. A crossword puzzle, cafe con leche, Jesus on the wall. Below them, me, transgressor, lover, impure to love’s architecture, quick design. If I should clutch his knee, the world might explode, leaving me and all these fragments I might gather.
-- Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.