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Bottom of basement stairs, open-slatted steps where only
deep air understands my questions. She sits on my lap;
I’m in jean overalls, yellow sauce-stained shirt,
and sneakers. She wants me to be a boy, touch beneath her
shirt; I do because she says to. There’s no sense in the dark
dampness she breathes, kissing me, moving my hand
across her rubbery back, able to bend into cartwheels, flips,
and hand springs. I fade into her damp air, carry her back
with me in dreams: I’m always a boy; mud sucks me into
roots of trees falling quickly across the backyard. Limbs
bending loudly, lonely, no air for safety. I’m always a boy
on the stairs in my dreams, her brown hair between my teeth,
and she feels it.

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