As I watch a man steal fruit on the corner
of Myrtle Ave and Broadway, I want to know

what to do with the memory, days of the week
underwear, the hand cupping the small cones

over my grey t-shirt, feeling
for the raised tip, pink eraser bud not yet

brown. I try to remember what was on TV,
my sister’s back to us, her flipping the channels, the screen

turning black for a second in between Fox News, This Old House,
and Wishbone. Maybe he touched me to reruns

of The Brady Bunch, how I never trusted the father
in a room with them, the girls, especially

Cindy with the blonde pigtails, her blue stare like knowing
her weight, light enough to hold down

with just a forearm. It didn’t matter that it was a Tuesday
in August, he played with the planets on the edge

of my cotton briefs, the rings of Saturn
for Saturday. Mars was for Tuesdays.

Mars was for Wednesday mornings and sometimes
Wednesday afternoons before someone told me

to shower. Mars was for spilled Hawaiian punch
on Jupiter, or laundry days on Mercury.

Mars was for me and the mirror,
when I’d push aside the fabric and see the sprouts

of fuzz, black stubble of strawberry
in the thief’s hand, rubbing the skin with a dry

finger, how hungry to steal just one.
The melons would have told, I’m sure.


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The Gatehouse