In youth and younger days, my classmate wrote stories about lachrymose boys. He is a boy, too. Fat boy. He is bad at this, at writing and taking off the last piece of clothing off the person he loves; the nudity, the crude — oil and grease all over again. He says: Intimacy. Ew, intimacy.

I once read a story he wrote. It was about a skinny boy who forgot to bring his umbrella and was left stranded at a bus stop waiting for the rain to end. His father had warned him of this, and he had mouthed it over when he fled through the backdoor fuzzed and dragged — the blurred boyhood of his white thighs; milk, milk, milk. Typical boy. In the end, for a reason I didn't know at that time, the boy he wrote about went on to slay dragons. (Kill) and (dragons) are highlighted in yellow. He smiles a dense one, the same dumb bad alcoholic dredging awakeness from his body; the way it wasn't supposed to be like that. He wasn't supposed to be the hero in the story, my teacher said, the boy was to regret, was to be left reduced to an apology for not listening to his father because morals, because lessons—

because purpose.

(Tough luck,) my classmate said, (I am not going to make him cry, but I'm sorry I made him a warrior. And I'm sorry I gave him shield and sword, I didn't know he was going to grow up to become a fist fighter so maybe he was going to do without them. Or maybe a chef, or a carpenter — and then he'd need his fingers, his arms to hold out and hold himself how no one will, how he knows it, too — (his) precious bones, his ones,

not mine.)

Boy, the darling. The darling: A boy. I will forge from fire the boy who will rake himself through mud and earth
and small bathtubs and he will be the soul inside my dream. He is the impetus, the freed; unloved,

yes, he'd say,

and handed that paper up to the teacher,
shoved it in

and left.