Growing up, did you ever feel compelled to wear women’s clothing?
On Tuesdays I wore nothing
but sheen. In sunlight
I was one slick rainbow.
Did you like playing with cars?
One winter I sealed my lips
around the neighbor’s beamer’s
tailpipe. I was in the middle
of my snake-appreciation stage. Unhinged
jaws were in. Dad carried tomato soup
across the street, sponged me free
with a hunk of sourdough, then made me
eat my dinner in that frozen driveway
while the neighbor boys breathed heavy
behind their bedroom windows.
What about sports? Were you sporty?
I played pattycake till my palms ran
bloody. The recess boys called me
Pansy. The Jesus-boys, in the humid
locker room, reached out their hands
as I passed, mine dripping like a saint’s.
Were you friends with other boys?
I was tight with Jimmy, tighter
with Greg, tightest with Titus
who never learned to relax
his sphincters. They don’t
teach you that in school,
but some boys learn it in the dark
janitor’s closet with the sweet
scent of lemon pledge
and a mop to clean our spills.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A smooth elbow. A yellow yard
of sassafras. A neon pool noodle. A pillow
queen. An old bottle of piss
saved for a quiet afternoon. The sexiest
wrench. Daddy’s little hockey puck.
Tell us about your father.
He used to sneak inside my bedroom
late at night dressed as an artichoke—
a stick of butter in one hand, a knife
in the other. He named himself
Temptation. I was young. I didn’t care
for vegetables. In the morning he was
wilted, his tender heart hidden away.
Did you have a healthy relationship with him?
My first word was
My second was
Was he affectionate?
He threatened to wrap me in Christmas
tinsel and send me off to Grandma.
Did you ever do things to get his attention?
I fucked myself with a garden
carrot at seventeen. Zucchini
quick to follow.
How did he punish you?
He said I love you
and he wasn’t lying.
He said You’re still
my son, then wept.
How long have you suffered these thoughts?
For years I’ve smeared
lipstick on my stuffed raccoons.
Straightforward answers, please.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wore cherry red
stilettos in the rest stop bathroom.
Who is Fuzzy Wuzzy?
Fuzzy Wuzzy was
Don’t be smart with us.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was an otter
who pissed in my mouth
in a ditch at the edge of I-80.
Was Brad the otter a homosexual?
I tried to convince my father
to replace my arms
with spatulas. He shook
his head No. No
boy of his would ever be
a housefly’s misery.
Did Brad the otter ever touch you?
My baby rides a watermelon
to the local Starbucks. He splits
the rind with his teeth, a circus
for thirsty baristas.
Tell the truth. Were you touched as a child?
His teeth aren’t real bones—
twenty-two glinting bottle-openers.
He’s my aluminum abomination.
If you stopped asking silly things
you could hear him—his every word
rings true like a tiny handbell.