Back to Issue Nineteen.

naming names

BY ROBIN ESTRIN

“Eating too much meat gives you indigestion
and evil thoughts make you eat too much meat.” 
-Gertrude Stein, Wars I Have Seen

The boy was door after door
           of misfortune:  He needed to talk

about his father: I did not shake him to tell
           him there was no future: It was the summer

after the winter of Peter: He mistook me
           for art. I wanted his touch in public places:

Art Institute & Addison Red Line,
           backseat of Vienna’s Camry: I wanted

what I wanted. Men are not meat
           but they are men. They name you

in the stories they publish online: tag Non-Fiction
           & Relationships & Bicycles.

They name the city you live in
           and reimagine your good sex.

Here is the thing about Cal. Cal’s the kind
           of guy wearing a helmet when his bike-

brakes cut out on his ride home from work
           as a Segway tour guide; who smashes his face

into a concrete pylon, rips his denim shorts
           and his ballsack; who catches a flesh-eating

virus at the hospital, MRSA; who’s never seen you
           laugh as hard as when he tells you

& you want to vomit, or jump into a vat
           of hydrochloric acid; who says this is what happens

when bad things happen. People blame you.

           Men are not meat. Meat doesn’t get sick. 

The way he writes it, we kissed in Urgent Care
           wearing surgical masks like Magritte’s lovers.

Here is the truth: I thought he was dying
           so I held his hand.

 

 

Estrin 19

Robin Estrin lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she works with the Young Writers Program, a non-profit that organizes creative writing projects in classrooms countywide. Her poetry has appeared in the Chicago Quarterly Review, Catamaran Literary ReaderPotluck Magazine, and Miramar Poetry Journal, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

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