They catch the lie without blinking,

boy playing little man,

me hiding my life like a broken dish,

its pieces cutting into my soles;

but, I grin anyway,

swear I’m doing well

and my children love me.


Despite transatlantic flights,

dinners in five star restaurants,

titles on business cards, inlaid rings,

famous people I can telephone,

they still call me, Billy,

all teeth and ears,

whose nose favors Marie’s.


They once spread my buttocks

to hunt for worms,

briskly scrubbed my foreskin, sent me to bed,

scoffed at my tantrums, whacked me solid,

mopped my vomit, sang me to sleep,

baked broccoli casseroles on Thanksgiving,

reminded me their cholesterol was lower than mine.


I can pretend with friends,

play games with doctors,

concentrate on my shave to avoid my eyes,

quaff bicarbonate, guzzle pills,

but old aunts know me better than my girlfriends did.

They warn against growing tits in my fifties;

pray I won’t inherit the family jowls.


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