If you can’t be a boy, be a houseboat
Why not both, something that can
hunt and float, like—
But the kind where people live.
My mother told me not
to be ridiculous
so I went outside and played in the rapids
that had appeared in our backyard.
The water churned, and I was dragged
under, the currents two competing impulses
of seemingly equal strength until my legs
became the smooth curve of a hull, my outstretched
arms hardened into a swan-
shaped figurehead, and I bobbed
to the surface.
I thought about mom and how,
after she’d turn out the lights, I’d go under
the bed and make lists in two columns, like:
and dream myself through the possibilities.
I motored downriver, penis dragging
in the cresting wake. Large birds circled my rigging.
Kids ran along shore and yelled.
I’d never been in such a good mood, not even when I’d gone
to the circus and seen
the gator-boy with his
human eyes and filed teeth and understood that
what I wanted to be was two things
at once; it didn’t matter which.
Charlie Bondhus’s second poetry book, All the Heat We Could Carry, won the 2013 Main Street Rag Award and the 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work appears in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, The Bellevue Literary Review, Nimrod, Copper Nickel, and others. He is assistant professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ) and is the poetry editor at The Good Men Project (goodmenproject.com). He is trans*/genderqueer.
This issue of Chelsea Station was co-edited by
Mitch Kellaway, AJ Sass, and Noah Grabeel.