Elegy for Lube and Prayer

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Poetry

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.

About The Author


Brandon Lewis was born in Seattle, Washington, and lives with his wife and children just north of Centralia, where he teaches high school English. In 2018 he received his MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Superstition Review, Nashville Review, Naugatuck River Review and The Tusculum Review.