He was a black boy from Cleveland Ohio. But I met him in New Orleans. And I couldn’t decide whether not start this by calling him a black boy or a black man. the way he asked me questions about my sexuality made me want to call him a man, but the size of the shoulders and how we had to coax him into eating anything made me want to call him boy.
I asked what was special about him. He told me, “the only way i know my father is dead.” He said I wrote A poem about how my momma broke and the way my stepfather’s knuckles were dimpled with use. And I said no, I’ve heard that story before. He said I’m gay, and my momma asks me how many boys have you been with, and I reply, I pick a new one to accompany each meal Like a wine pairing. He says I’ve never worn A condom. And I say, yes, I have heard that one before, too.
he tells me about the first time he felt proud. He wrote a poem about learning his father’s cheekbones from the pile of brimmed hats left in the attic, his hands from the box of dish towels.