For it was only Achilles
Who had seen Patroclus
Free of his shield,
No helmet to hide behind,
No chest plate to guard against vulnerability.
And what exactly was I to do?
I, who had seen the recesses of my skin
The dark browns of my eyes.
The depth of my own shading.
Exposed and naked against the starlight.
I, who cared for him like
Patroclus to Achilles,
Buried in his lover’s armor.
But that is a story picked from a land
That is not my own
For I am from the world of spray painted walls
And baked sidewalks.
I am from the world of ketchup stained shirts
And smog filled breath
I, who had dreamed of his body against mine
His broad shoulders against my black skin,
Still growing hairs from puberty.
That school boy fascination
Inherent lust that betrayed me
Showing who I was before I was ready
And yet I loved him
I loved him with the fervor of which I feared myself.
Fear was all I could cling to.
My shading painted me a thug,
An outsider to the world of festivals
Unwelcomed at the shrine of Iolaus
And my dick revealed me too feminine for the world of ebony
Too delicate to take a punch.
I, who could not distance myself from my skin
(the only thing keeping me together)
Or my hardened dick
(the only thing forcing my heart to pump blood)
Or the whispered shame that would only come afterwards.
I who loved him like Patroclus to Achilles,
I who bore his armor and marched out onto the field,
Awaiting a swift ending.
Dr. Frankenstein was desperate for a son.
A kind of freak Geppetto who worked in flesh instead of wood.
He’d carve through corpses as if they were lumber.
He’d shift through graves looking for fingers to give his new child.
No, that one’s too long.
Legs were easy to come by,
But fingers were a rarity.
He stitched and hammered leg to torso,
And created a puppet of bone and dead skin.
A bolt of lightning became his wishing star,
An accident of nature, his Blue Fairy.
Now he could show his son
How to throw a football,
And play marbles
And woo women
But something went wrong,
As all things do,
His son ran away, out into a village that wouldn’t understand him
(As Pinocchio once did)
The doctor followed his son,
Worrying he would catch a cold
Or get a girl pregnant.
(But he was too old to be called Noah)
A tower is where his son hid,
(But he was too ugly to be called Rapunzel)
There he saw his son,
Awake in the night that gave birth to him.
Alone in the world that spun lies to his face.
Frankenstein looked to the sky,
His son, his Pinocchio,
His puppet of bone and dead skin.
He was the father of a monster,
As all fathers are.
Myron McGhee is a student at the University of Central Florida. He has worked as a nonfiction editor for The Cypress Dome, an intern for The Florida Review, a staff writer for Intersections Magazine, and a grant writer for The After School All Stars Orlando branch.