A History of the Only War
This kid, in a convenience store, frowned on my fly, fingers moving
under his zipper. I tried hardening my character. He seemed so thin.
Perched cross-legged on the love hotel bed, he looks
very thin. Money he says. So it’s a trap. I’m broke
I say, offering up half of what the room cost.
He just stares at my bill in the air. Pouting,
whispering something about rice, he shows
his empty wallet. So he’s a hungry whore.
Behind his head, beyond the window,
a neon crucifix flickers, shorting out.
In a landscape architect’s pickup,
workers squat around a succulent,
their uniforms the same green as the elephant-ear leaves
hiding their hands. Twilight smells of rambutan, durian,
that acrid-sweet perfume. I’ll buy each boy a soft drink,
green, cold, as sweet as it could be, my fi ngers fondling
their harps, their humming, nervous ribcages, tracing
on a notebook page the outline of my left hand, tips
of the forefi nger and thumb joined, gesturing
okay, the feeling body showing, never telling.