Here is the rough draft the beginning of a short story submitted to me by Eric Rodriguez. The story is called "How I Became A Destroyer."
Veins are in the hedgerow bordering the blankness of his house – he thought, at last piecing together a memory of the previous summer, at the age of seven; seven, a magic number. Seven, a sexual number, and jumping to six, or seventeen. But, before seventeen, he is eight years old at the bay window of his childhood home in the green outlets of his empty green town, looking out.
At the bay window, in the back of his house when he was seven and named Seth, he watched a ghost of a boy, naked, caught in sunlight by the hedgerow bordering the backyard. This boy, a ghost or walking birch, all milk and erect at the bush, about nine or so. It is noon, and boys look youngest at that time – perhaps this was an older man naked in the yard, beckoning, and Seth liked this thought too. But, this ghost boy, about nine or so, eludes time altogether, and stands erect at the bush in the yard of Seth’s childhood home. This was one day, for one moment, of the summer at seven.
Seth is eight, and at the bay windowsill, still, gazing at the hulking roots of the hedgerow, like curving cocks fucking the rich soil. Veins are in the soil, then – veins, gateways to his growing up, to his bathing in the waters of another boy. He had a brow full of anticipation. A boy, sweaty, would come along to his backyard and they would mix sweat. They would beat brows. Disperse in sun-filled cornfields – two boys caught in stalks.
Each morning Seth would behold an image of Hatshepsut and breathe out a prayerful of glossolalia. His boy would be sent forth by Hatshepsut, mother pharaoh. His dream boy would be sent to him by Hatshepsut, the stately elm tree in the backyard. Seth decided that if he were to invoke the gods, they must be living ones. Hatshepsut was the pharaoh become goddess, an elm tree in his backyard. In return of his morning songs she thought beautiful, she’d send him a boy from the milk of the clouds.
Seth is eight years old, in cut off shorts and shirtless, waiting for his boy at the bay window of his childhood home. In seven minutes his boy will appear at the hedgerow. Seth does not know this.
This is the dream of a boy living nowhere, America. A boy will come from an elm. He will come in flooding like the Nile. Every boy in America who dreams will dream of another boy, flooding in like the Nile. Every boy dreams of the Nile.
Seth realizes he must bleed the veins in the soil onto Hatshepsut’s trunk for his boy to come. “shem, shim’lau, sheh’lau.” Seth thinks Hatshepsut likes words that start with the ‘shh’ sound. Seth walks, unshod feet and unshod chest, from the back door to the hedgerow. He walks to the cocks, ridged and twisting into rich soil, and kneels, tracing a finger along fiber. There are veins in the ground pumping red into the expanse under his house. The red brings the Nile. All gods are suffused in the rivulets spuming from a yearly promise. All boys, like Seth, want the Nile pouring down their necks, running down the smalls of their backs, licking the canals between their cheeks.
He will exhume a heart from the soil for Hatshepsut, his great mother goddess – the elm tree.
Here is the poem:
How I Became a Destroyer
He is piecing together the memory
Of a ghost boy,
The red Nile running from his veins.
The blankness of the boy he thought beautiful.
The boy from the milk of the clouds.
Naked, caught in the sunlight.
Tracing a finger along
His curving chest.
This is the dream of a boy.
All boys who dream of another boy
Want be caught in his flood,
The twisting and growing of his back.
All milk and dreams, he stands
Naked, sweaty and beckoning,
Erect at the bush.
Waiting for his boy.
His dream boy,
His childhood dream,
In cutoff shorts and shirtless.
His veins pumping and flooding
With sexual anticipation.
The red Nile pouring down his neck,
He must bleed into the soil,
For his heart to bath in the waters of another boy.