Jun 14, 2012


Written by Austin MacRae

Read by David Shattuck

Steaming, longer boys would grab
our trunks and yank them down to size
us up. You had to find a corner
quick and keep one hand locked tight
around your junk while pulling up,
inch by stubborn inch, while jocks
roared cockeyedly.
Thank god
they never saw that flap of skin
sandwiched between two fingers,
a secret trying to slip the gate
of flesh and bone, hoping to
expose my wholeness to the world
when holiness was based on severance
endured — divorce, abuse — as if
that little bit of skin were clipped
and pinned against each sprouting chest,
a merit badge, a drooping bloom
that signified the essence of a man.

So when my college buddy calls
to ask me whether he should cut
his newborn, I equivocate
despite the recent trends. Before
I tell him Keep him whole, my hand
creeps down and traces where the knife
might easily have slipped between
the cells and made a man of me.