Kate Wyer


Give me the shunt. Let me have it and I will take days down in the latent milk. I won’t even turn my head when it goes in. My eyes open to the cold riot of anesthesia. My audience is the darkness and the machine that breathes for me as I sleep.

I have found a way to shut out dreams.

It was always about you. I tried to explain how a man can want. I tried to explain with my feet. The sliding on the floor, the loving the floor and the light and the white surprise of sock. With my hands I showed you. That was for you, when I let the world know I was a man. I took my handful and I showed you. And still I was your little creature at the end.

It’s true.

All of it.

Do you remember when I kissed her on TV? That was for you, too. So was the stiff, locked gait of the unhappy dead. You were my inspiration. When I was a boy, I learned to look at you as a corpse. I willed you into the ground and you always rose. You, with your yellow eyes, faint mustache and swagger.

And damn, didn’t you love my falsetto and the way I could count. The way I could count. Like the way they tell you to start counting when you go under and suddenly everything is swallowed; the body thrumming and the mind dead.

I wanted always to be recovering, never healed. I loved the self-care of bandages, gauze; the wrapping and rewrapping of a face. The knowledge that I had hidden pockets of alien material in my cheeks, chin. Nose.

Shame, white-faced, pulled down my covers and brought me to the door. My masks and my military could not keep you out. My sharp-focused fantasy punctured, my arm punctured, my mind. I will never understand how to be your son. I will never understand what is owed because I am made of half of you.

I could only love with my body. I could only show you as I fell backwards, feet planted, the ground repelling me like a charged magnet. That was us! Always.