Boyhood

March 28, 2008
By Jodi Lincoln, Pittsburgh, PA

My body oozes
and cups dirt
in the small crevices
of my skin
where sweat lazes away.
At seven years old
I watched a part of me
be torn from my head
as the golden locks
I had sentenced
fell like clouds to the barber’s floor.
Every mirror was so different for me.
The glass was cold
as I explored the nuances
of my face, touching it with bloody fingers.

My sister, asleep in our pink room,
had her eyes pressed shut
like an alligator’s bite
and sleep-talked about lollipops.
With breezy hands I lifted
the colorful wish dolls from their pouch.
Cradling the small pieces of fabric in my
fingers, I pressed them in the sheets
beneath my pillow and blew
my wish into the night.
Make me a boy.

My mother told me
a few years ago she thought
I’d be a lesbian
because of my ‘boy phase.’
But in second grade
is when I had my first boyfriend.
At his sister’s party we sneaked
into his room and he kissed me!
A year later even though we’d been swept
into different corners by the same broom
that swept me off my feet,
I still sobbed when my sister
broke the clay heart he’d made me.

A house wife
always lived under my bed
not going to college,
just cleaning away
the dust and cob webs.
She claws
her way up the back
of my seven-year-old self
and ate my dreams
like cupcakes licking
the frosting off first.

Scratch at my skin
and the layers will peel
off my face.
I grow them back and they are infinite.
I am not
an onion.
My skins lay shed at crossroads
and turnpike tolls
but I don’t pay,
just walk around.

My breasts are no melons,
but grape fruits that children
would squirm at when they eat
with sugar and spoons.
I pop sugar cubes into my mouth
and swirl the sweet beads
with my saliva and spit
it out onto the street
for someone to step in.


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