Like Man

When My Body Was 16

Duck Dive

When my body was 16 for real I was good at looking innocent.

I’d widen my big brown eyes and get a little pout.

Girly expressions look good on guys that age, but not too much.

An’ sometimes innocence is sexier than looks.

I knew this one woman; she taught me the ropes.

She said she was my mom, but I never believed her.

She said, “beat off Bobby so’s you don’t fidget when men touch you!”

I ain’t never got used to bein’ touched and I don’t think not beatin’ off was why.

That was the Summer of 1969 when all the kids giggled when they said the date.

That was when I met my best friend, Carl, down by Colonial Lake.

It was a hot, muggy July day in 1969 an’ all the fish in the lake died.

Carl was blowin’ up the fish with cherry bombs.

I laughed an’ said hi an asked him where he got the black eye.

He said he got in a fight that morning at his school and decide to cut out.

I told him I almost got shot the night before ’cause I really did.

He knew the projects where I lived so he knew it was true.

“You almost got shot?” I could see I had his respect. “What did you do?”

“Scream.” I answered. Then we laughed an’ blew up some more fish and became best friends.

Carl was straight, but that July day we fell in love.