Then I finally think of a good place
for her. Stapled to the box spring.

My ten-year-old brother walks over
and stands beside me grinning, whistles

like I’ve just climbed off her
and he wants a turn. Who’s she? he asks.

I ease the mattress back over thighs
and double-Ds and tell him, Anna

Nicole Smith. If you snitch this time I swear
to God I’ll fucking beat your ass.

After our older brother disappeared
I stopped resisting the urge to jerk off,

going at it five or six times a day,
sometimes in the shower or lying

on the bathmat. I’ll swipe a bra out
of the laundry and put it on, tuck my dick

between my legs like Buffalo Bill
and stand at the mirror, coat a finger

in vaseline. I think of my sister’s friend
sneaking into my room one night

and letting me feel her tits. My math tutor’s
camel toe. Or the girl I used to play

with in the woods across the street,
see her on her knees looking up, wetting

her lips, I just pretend it’s a popsicle.
At least twice a month my parents

sit together in the living room and read
from the Bible. A pastor comes over

to join them. They pray, Please God, help us
find Reuben soon. Bring him home

safely. I don’t say I think he’s dead,
or that I’ve pictured him as a mob victim

crammed in a hefty bag and dumped
into Puget Sound. They have no idea

what I’ve done to myself right where
they’re sitting, my own form of praying.



Photo used under CC.