I sneak out, skip Mass to watch him slaughter the turkey we will eat for brunch with his
family and others from the Mormon Church.
Early morning behind my mother’s back, I walk in twilight to their farmhouse.
In the shed where they do the killings, ignoring the stench of waste and blood, I follow
him—older than me by a year—to the place where we will do it.
Outside it is dark, but the boy can see well enough to pick out the one we will eat.
When he brings it inside, he removes his shirt carefully—takes his time with each pearl
button—and goes for a golf club instead of the gleaming cleaver.
This way it doesn’t know what to expect, he says, falling into a swing elegant enough to
sets muscles flaring like currents beneath skin.
We watch the head fly into a corner of the room, the rest of it gushes before falling limp on the cold ground.
At this hour of morning, I know my mother is already inside the chapel of St. Joseph’s,
filling spent candles with fresh wicks and wax melted by stovetop.
It has not finished dying when the boy strips loose the skin around its neck, peels it back to reveal the torso we must together pluck and gut.
(She pours the liquid into wasted votives to make them new again, ready for penance; as heavy and fresh as fruit.)
I will show you how to do it, he says.
And when the boy and I have finished—the carcass in front of us—all becomes
illuminated after we have done only what we could do, and he puts his shirt on again.
The first time I touch a man in lust I remember this:
pleasure isn’t something you should give away so easily.
Everything I know about loving a man comes second hand;
my mother shares with my sister in the next room, I listen.
Pleasure isn’t something you should give away so easily,
I collect wisdom like lonely strands of thread
my mother shares with my sister in the next room. I listen,
bending toward the wall to hear what she’d never say to me,
collecting wisdom like lonely strands of thread:
un amor perdido, stings like a jalapeño seed lost between teeth.
Bending toward the wall, I hear what she’d never say to me:
I’ll teach you all the ways to take his power, and if it doesn’t work,
a lost love arde como la semilla del jalapeño perdida entre dientes.
She says, start by smoothing scented oil onto skin while it is still wet,
I’ll teach you, all the ways to take his power—and if it doesn’t work?—
sometimes it’s the girl that gives it up first who gets the farthest,
she says. I start by smoothing scented oil onto skin while it is still wet.
Everything I know about loving a man comes secondhand:
sometimes it’s the boy that gives it up first who gets the farthest,
the first time I touch a man in lust I remember this.