“How do you know you’re really a man?
I mean, really know?” Genes, and jeans, and
Jeanne all say one thing; but here is Kelly,
questioning the plays I’ve made with my body
Or is she merely being cheerfully metaphysical,
trying to burst the typical mental picture
After a fifteen-minute flight, lying ragged like a kite
hit by lighting, I was fizzed shy, sneezing, frisked
by “Anyways . . .”—the ambiguous ending
to a small dusty fling, one that started in the office
when I openly admitted I was scared of kites,
the heights they sometimes reach—twisting, tumbling
in those fierce winds, the minute constituents
of face-eating pollution, and the too-dark-to-be-bothered
rumors of electrical storms.
Kelly found my phobia silly and sufficiently cute,
or so she said when she came to hand off an envelope
in the mailroom; one exchange rearranged for a better
—or so I thought until flashing-blue struck.
With her, I experienced something never before felt,
not even with my beloved Jeanne, the first assurance
of my masculinity. The second assurance—my son—
has yet to manifest. So I’d curled my fingers around
a friendly risk, and shook it like the knotty limb
of a forgotten enemy. I didn’t care to know
the physics of wet string entangling wood
undoubtedly rotted by unseen fungi.
“Blondes have more fun only in their heads,”
was the best comeback I could think of in defense
to what may have been, not a rumination, but a warning.
An intended hour of two illicits funny-tumbling around
turned sour, sadly—quartered hearts loving nothing
but the sweet idea
of finally coming apart.
I knew what awaited us once we both returned
from our mutual sick day: A murder of crows,
gossipy, who know of nothing better to do than peck
and pick and stick their beaks into everyone’s business,
to sip and speak of it then, now, and later over the carrion . . .
thinking over this conductive seductress who’s suddenly
back on top of me, overwhelmed already by the shuddering
nits mercy-kissing me all over. A second wave of frisson,
a rash decision:
Kelly wasn’t a real woman; the lie was in her name;
she bent genders and threatened to break up my marriage,
break my promise to my true love to give her our son. Mine
was a crime against an animal; give it three thoughts—it’s silly.
I did the only thing a real man could.