Cosmonauts Avenue
BOY
noun, often attributive | ‘bȯi’

1.

a: male child from birth to adulthood

story goes – my father was once hit by a car
while on his way to visit a girl on the Westside
of Detroit.

His teenage hormones guiding him into traffic
body laying full on blacktopped streets and sure
he was okay but named a foolish boy.

story goes – foolish boy met my mother
while they were bubble gum smack young.
My mother noting all the girls foolishly

bating their eyes at my father. I have no
reference for how they became a couple
just that they became pregnant with me

and soon after but before I came a marriage
would mark their blessed union by God in a
church knowing some of his secrets.

Story goes – my father, foolish man
with wandering hands always found another
body to mark as home

Story goes – my grandfather apologized
to my mother, for every moment my father
fell short of being a “good” man

on summer nights he’d sit on the porch
with her and say I’m sorry, daughter
I don’t know what’s wrong with my boy.

b: Son.

When our mothers can no longer call us home
the night swallows our bodies into a rhythm
endless, our movements strobing as the disco

ball hangs with obligation, my body
a shadow casts on the wall in obligation
knowing that BOIS don’t move, stand

in a pair of Girbaud or Sean Jean jeans with
braids tucked neatly under the 59Fifty as T,
an older stud ushers us into a night we’re sure

to forget, dark stank clinging to my spine the
DJ begs us to forget our first names I drink
and forget the way it feels when a mother no –

longer calls you hers or when a mother forgets
you have her first name, this ritual of giving to
the night sky with prayer tucked underneath

my tongue, I beg to find my father here – savior
who calls me his Son, a boy who smiles the same
way he did when he was young

once, I tried on my father’s clothes, found his gun
in the closet and thought this is what makes a man
so I tried on the gun, pulled and pulled until my

face became metal, my mouth the hollow home
for a bullet each time a woman said I was worthy
of love then said son, you trippin’

bȯi’

1.

a: slang within LGBT and butch and femme communities for a person’s sexual or gender identities.

When used referring to my body, I become
origami crane, folded in the intricate shape
of masculinity – see my delicate angles each

line drawn perfect, the folding is a narrative
belonging to BOIs like me, who craft themselves
a worthy fit to hold a woman the way boys do

with a gentleness incapable of breaking
until the same woman laughs at the soft
parts rendering all BOIs worthy of a joke

my mother says she didn’t raise a son
her back hand makes any argument fall
down my throat.

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