Self-portrait as Adolescent Boy

— Sylvia Sukop

Not a trace of my aunt’s kitchen-pantry piercing back when I was seven, stench of vinegar and blood, swallowed tears. Those holes have closed. At thirteen, I have shorter hair and wire-rim glasses pressing tresses into sideburns. My Wrangler jacket—Bicentennial red, white, and blue—is big on me. I like how it squares off my torso. Denim cutoffs. White tube socks up to my knees. Cowhide watchband, riveted. Pre-orthodontic non-smile. Pockets full of fists. Down at the hardware store, an old guy in faded overalls folds his hairy arms, “You must be one of Paul’s boys.” I do not contradict him.

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