Chimera, raw shadow, a chaos of the mind. Ribbons of wind at the door,
the sound of something squalling in the yard. Moments you’ll never
know, the scarred moon drawing them near. Hoary nights, how many
of them? And what of the persuasion, what of the bleeding in the bunk
below, the terrible things you would come to do? The neighbor’s cat
yowling outside, oak trees crusted in ice. Remember this clearly. But
what of the lumped flesh? What of the glistening shame, lit cigarettes
searing rings in your skin, hot breath on your ass as his teeth bore
Whore nights, how many of them? Nights when you would thrill in the
proximal, in the fusion of body to body, to the carnal beds of youth, all
the valueless coupling, pity-fuck nights when emptiness took seed. Now
the chambered memories breaking loose, metastatic, metamorphosed:
dry docks, the living detritus, this cast-off industrial squall, planes
strafing the squat buildings clustered shoreside. Nights when you
would sleep in a cavern of distrust, afraid of yourself, that what was
septic in you would seep outward and unfasten the skin. Duplicate self,
duplicitous self, self you would drown in the scripted waters where the
lies have eyes, the secrets their secretions.
A car rolls, a child is crushed. The uncle touches the young girl when she
spends the night. The brother makes a list of the most fuckable family
members. The young girl is your sister. The young girl is your uncle’s
daughter. The young girl is unknown to you. You do not remember
whose child was crushed. The car slipped into gear, the child fell out.
How much more is unknown to you? The uncle taught you House of the
Rising Sun on the pawn shop guitar. The uncle’s hands on your hands.
The uncle’s slack mouth, the uncle’s enormous gut sagged between the
legs. The brother likes the uncle’s wife best, her small tits, tiny fuckable
body. The young girls will grow to adulthood bearing their secrets. And
here is a game you would play: Three boys are in a room. One is the
brother, one is the cousin. The boy on the floor is the adopted one, the
outcast, some amalgam of flesh and memory, too young to get hard.
He is bearing this shame to the older boys. The shame of his body. The
shame of inheritance. Years later, the uncle will be found dead in his
apartment, partially eaten by his own dogs. This death will not be a
penance. The crushed child, however, does not die. It becomes, instead,
a parody of survival. An intubated, brain-dead life lesson. You thought
you would have learned all this by now. You thought you had buried that
boy you were.