Poetry by J. Marcus Weekley, Photo by Jeremy Streeter

Remember Eighth Grade

    In the boys' locker-room, eighth grade is a bloody nose, a stolen pair of shorts, and sex like a cologne all the boys die for. Two skinnies debate Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands: queer or AWESOME? The background shower noise gives one boy his hard-on, and another, pulling off a tennis shoe, notices, but says nothing. The PE coach stands in the doorway, checking his watch, thinking of last night's poem—one of Whitman's "Drum Taps"—and the rhythm of the boys in their white skins reminds him of young soldiers' breaths. We're all going to die. The thick kid in the shower scrubs his nuts, jealous of the next guy's piece, while the next guy imagines Lisa, his girlfriend, in a cherry dress, shaking away from him, then back into him again. He is late for History, and the kids discussing Burton trip the dude with the hard-on while the coach remembers he forgot to turn off the burner after breakfast. He hopes his wife Emily remembered, then remembers his wife has been dead for more than a month now. The boys all rush out, trailing steam and prepared body smells and sweat.
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