Photo of a Boy in Suspenders Taken by Gus Van Sant by Sarah Maria Medina
A boy named Radio, a set of stairs, a wheelchair. He took himself to the top.
The last stair, a girl: sixteen, drunk on whiskey. In the morning, still dressed.
Joshua, a sad-eyed boy. We slept in our clothes, every night. An older girl,
eighteen. Two different breasts. Pretty boy neighbors lip synched.
They've sought him in the eyes of each boy since. He worked shipyard at
the wet docks. He cried after Radio was shot, half a block down. Rebel
teenagers ran the streets, with inked chests. We sought the open sky dome,
both scared to say any word close. I called him from Alaska. I was fishing, was
half a lie. Back when I swam before snow. A woman with a broken tooth told
fortunes on the side. She stayed to catch snowflakes on her tongue. I roomed
with a man who liked to dress
in fishnets, not far from the train tracks. Fake pearls crack rolling on the disco
floor, the drag queen's laugh. He found me, half dead, wan chrysanthemums,
my mother's hands salvaging mine. I had forgotten how we had waited at the lake
edge, clothed, beneath a single blanket, those nights. I stole three pieces of candy.
He read Dostoevsky, never touched me.