Kevin Bertolero

It’s not in what you do, more in what you say

I think of eating soft serve with guiltless boys at the Dairy Queen off Route 11. We consider dissociation, our mothers, the times we were almost hit by cars. My legs unstick from the vinyl booth when we stand to leave, an un-suctioning of thighs. We are sweaty boys with backpacks, with cans of Mucho Mango Arizona warm from the mid-day sun. We ride our fixed-gear bikes to Rushton Falls and look at the limestone steps leading down to the river, the sugar house not far on the other side. I say GOODBYE! To Canton as we pass the sign that wishes us back. We are interested boys with a love for cinema, and in the second-run theater we watch Purple Noon (1960). Peter tells us of the heat down in Dallas, his last family vacation, what our bodies would look like in that kind of daylight. I felt like Alain Delon, he says. It was my own Italian summer. We would have to swim in that dry heat, he explains, in the stylized pools with chlorine perfumed skin. There’s nothing quite like it. I think of a time when queer boys our age would listen to Rachmaninoff and stay inside. Today, we sing Mac DeMarco lyrics as we wander through some phantom orchard. A few more months and this field will be alive, then dead again. We kick at the dry soil.

Kevin Bertolero is the founding editor of Ghost City Press. His work was long-listed for the 2018 Peach Gold Prize and his poems and essays have been published in Maudlin House, PNK PRL, Reality Beach, OUT/CAST, Tenderness Lit, Sea Foam Mag, and elsewhere. He tweets @KevinBertolero.