No one taught the boys how to cry so at any time that once thoracic, Carolina blue heartflood swam up, threatened to drown each adam’s apple, they shoved knuckles so far thrown their mouths, their pupils dilated to dying Cepheids. They made dams tagging one elbow into another in a daisy chain of ulnas, they sat on dark-fucked piers watching the Chinese fishing nets rise from the water’s shattered chest, knicked Marlboro lights from cursing uncles, spat out pirate shanties to fill the gaping wounds of orphaned potholes. The boys grew up at the speed of bamboo trees; same willow bent; same excruciating pain when they got under your fingernails. They whetted their spines into tar-tipped arrows; learned how to hug and hunt from a squad of fleatown mutts in the redlight area. When the boys asked their fathers about girls, they were handed a still-hooked, wriggling fish, a kitchen knife and a bottle of bejois brandy.At night, the boys snuck into the only trumpery cinema where the usher knew them because he was one of them. Slouched on the skeleton of each cheap seat, they watched chiffon-draped breasts rise and fall against the pastel saris as if poori breads at their mother’s greasy woks. During the interval, they ran forensics on the history of each stain – this : semen, this : sweat, this : tobacco. Tears leave no trace, the boys giggled as they carved the incorrect spellings of their names next to exaggerated pictures of their teen cocks on the back of each drooping chair. Outside, the vendetta of rain pummeled each thatched roof till it gave in. The boys huddled under the temple’s haggard staircase, at a distance lightning needled through a panic-bullied cow, lifted it up for inspection – a diamante or a clove of white garlic - & slammed it back to the ground. The boys pushed their wet faces close to each other, a sharp vinegar dissolving their guts – each a corpse of shame, each a mantra for mourning.

Scherezade Siobhan