a bounce castle arrives
in the front yard of my heart.
it's full of all the boys 
i still love but who 
i tell myself i don't.
set my shoes by the entrance
& slipping with socked feet.
i think about being a little boy
at the fair & climbing into one of these.
a menagerie of kids with all their
pig tails & throats. 
whirl of wind feeding the structure.
i wonder how long
i might be able to keep jumping 
before exhaustion. these boys 
are never tired, 
they are always asking 
to come into a poem. 
what i really want
is the same as what i wanted
when i was small. i want
to brush bodies with them.
pleasure exists in 
the purposeful accident. 
eric, with his
curly hair & soft arms.
he held me in the dark
of a dormroom. gabriel 
all elbows & cigarettes.
jack with his sand dollar palms.
one night, we sat on the roof
of his house. we were eighteen
& thought we were old.
the boys bump into each other too.
they don't laugh, they keep 
empty faces & poise their arms
for jumping. i sit on the floor
of the bounce house
& let their movements 
jostle me. i want to ask them
to come lay down.
all of us on the inflatable floor. 
our hearts each like little
shadow boxes. do they think me now 
in a similar corner
of their skin? graze a lip.
a knee made of air. 
don't tell the other boys but,
i'm getting younger each year.
soon i will be a fragment 
of boy & nothing more. 
they already don't recognize me.
what is a boy
but a memory 
of wanting? reach for 
a pirate moon 
or a golden vertabrae.
skin on skin. a chest 
is a splayed prayer book. 
the boys get along with
or without me. 
my carnival heart
with all its boys.

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