The 2River View 24.4 (Summer 2020)

Anthony Aguero

To Being a Man

To be a boy again is to return to the apart-
ment when I was dating Henry,
just before the end of a few years of my life.

I am back in the apartment with my cousin.
The only tears are from a baby. They are not
mine. What does man mean to you?

I am holding the blade the wrong way —
the handle is meant for the storm to kiss.
I have already learned how to hold the blade.

I was intended for blood. The Latin boy.
The queer boy. The boy with no ideas of man.
I was intended for blood. I’m afraid of my dad.

The bodies are the empty ramen packages
strewn across the counters. My body,
it sits in a different country

where the bodies are bodies and the dilation
of the pupils is the masc response.
We are back in the empty apartment

where my body wasn’t expecting to be.
Where the man thing to do was end
my life for those next few years.


At one point I believed in God, and I knew
he existed because Brad Pitt wasn’t supposed

to be beautiful to me and I thought
it proved that God was a jealous one.

I am sitting on a carpeted floor of my Tia’s
apartment. I am just now seeing the

beauty of the outline of a man’s body
for the first time. For the first time,

playing Cops and Robbers with the boys
outside meant something else.

It meant something like the blood inside
of me was something as precious

as la Virgen de Guadalupe appearing on
the tilma Diego was seen wearing.

I am just learning that condemnation was
every pause to try and kiss the boy.

The boy wound up being a symbol for fear.
At one point, before a man, I believed in God.

Anthony Aguero is a queer writer in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in The Bangalore Review and The Temz Review.

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