It Could Happen to Anyone: A Letter to A Boy by L. Lamar Wilson

leave me blanco
Lava ma blanco | Jesús Hilario-Reyes Performance 2015

 

The man in the shack on the corner wants 
to kiss you. He remembers when you jump-roped 
better than most of the girls & prayed without 
manly pretense, remembers how you mimicked 
the church mothers—knees & body bowed, Lawd
—your genuine contrition for being broken 
& breakable still. You always was too pretty
to be a boy. Come gimme some sugar
, he says

& reaches out to kiss you on your cheek, but 
his lips are thistles, his face a cavern of bones. 
It’s World AIDS Day, & you are here to chronicle 
his free-fall from engineer to blind man leading 
the myope, to fevers that flash on & off like a switch 
spooked by the God he calls great & merciful 
with a smile. Your mother says his songs tore up 
church services all over town like hurricanes 
had done Old U.S. Road: dogwoods splayed, 
naked limbs convulsing, rapt in holy water,
like the saints slain by the spirits he conjured. 
You don’t remember him, so busy kneeling 
at the altar of this you the mothers & sanctified brothers 
could praise, who loved Shirts Against Skins
more than Bible study, loved tackling the most buff Skin 
on the field, who always held you on top of him long
enough for you to feel him hardening against you
hardening. Gimme some skin, nigga, he’d say 
& grin, as you pulled away, then reached to pull 
him to his feet. This man doesn’t know the you 
who dreamed of kissing the lead tuba player 
but was too much of a punk or a saint or both 
to follow his leer from the dais to the bathroom stall. 
It could happen to anyone, he says, especially
when you love somebody. Make sure
you write that down.
 You don’t. Too 

sentimental, you think, for a hard
news story, so you dig for the grit, for the who 
who branded him untouchable. He smiles, 
places one hand on his chest, gropes the table 
for yours. You using protection with these boys?
His scaly palm grazes your keloid knuckles. 
I haven’t, you know, yet, you mumble, happy
for once to be numb, glad you can’t feel the heat. 

 

l lamar wilson
L. Lamar Wilson

 

Originally published in SACRILEGION

See all the pieces from 29 Days of Beautiful here.

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