WIP: Saltian, Sex
From section 2, Childhood, of Saltian
By Alice Shapiro
A summer bungalow arouses secret lusts
as sunbeams peek through tattered curtains
and a three-year-old, crumpled under cotton covers
titters at her father's work-mate's muscles
and sun-bronzed arms that taunt and tickle her.
Desire forms and a sense of future
different than the entertaining toy
or a parent's unconditional comfort.
One day in a grown time
this same woman knelt to weed a garden.
A shadow blocked her light
as two bright eyes
The neighbor's son at seven
silent and enticed
Critique: Responsive Writing
By Bryan Borland
The parents, denying it in themselves,
were horrified to find it in their children.
--John Steinbeck, from East of Eden
He discovered his body in the bathtub,
toy ships bobbing with tides of pulling and prodding
in company of rose-faced others who refused
to acknowledge how the arch of the sun
can touch a child's skin in the early dawn.
It is the shameful unspoken,
schooled out like fantasies of girls
in red cloaks or ginger-laced gluttony.
When the wolves bayed at fourteen
and were allowed in again, his eyes drifted
past the childhood relic:
a yellow boat, at peace
on a shelf warmed
by natural light;
Bryan Borland is a Pushcart-nominated poet from Little Rock AR and the owner of Sibling Rivalry Press. His first book, My Life as Adam, was one of only five collections of poetry included on the American Library Association's "Over the Rainbow" list of notable LGBT-themed books published in 2010. He is the founding editor of Assaracus, the only print journal in the world dedicated exclusively to the poetry of gay men. His work has appeared in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Breadcrumb Scabs, Referential Magazine, vox poetica, Ganymede, and Velvet Mafia, among others. For more about Bryan, visit his website.