Paper Contortionist

We boys found refuge in the bamboo forest.

We cracked and snapped through yellow shoots

that pierced the earth like leafy daggers.

We shared our sweat with its ancient roots,

leaves inhaled our voices, tasted our dreams.



Once, while crawling through the forest

I found the tattered shard of a glossy girl

torn from a magazine. Her knobby-knees

spread open—a pair of cotton candy lips

I’d never seen on a woman smiled up at me.


Sam said, “We should throw her in the swamp.”

Peter said, “Let’s bury her.”


But as I gazed into that naked paper doll,

a stampede of bulls pounded through my chest

and crashed up the corridor of my manhood.

I gently folded her body like a tiny contortionist,

slipped her into my pocket,

“I’m keeping her.”

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