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Keepin’ it in the family (incest is the best, the true tale)

5 when it happened the first time
(i don’t know how i remember that)
she must have been ten
maybe thirteen?
my cousins came to stay with us, 
in the summer, in the heat
her name is sherry ann,
i am anne but i was always henry, tom, or mark.
we played house often
i was the father, some indescript nuance
she was always the mother i wanted to be.
when she felt sorry that i whined, or wouldn’t give in
she would play daddy, some definite wretch.

one year around christmas
before christmas,
we wrapped fake presents,
she was santa, i was mrs. claus.
there were no reindeer. when we were done
and the adults were tripping over empty beer bottles, or baking cookies
or too busy screaming at each other to notice
or whatever it was people did those days
we slipped into my grandmothers bed
lick lick
lick lick
“anne you’re the best”
she said to me,
no one has said it since.
tongue in mouth
where do you want it,
but it wasn’t the first time
it wouldn’t be the last. 

we’d play spin the bottle

pretend camping, tents built cotton.

we’d get in the shower together.

to the garage we’d go, 
	once or twice
	really, it happened so much,
	i don’t remember or have suppressed.
to the broken down transom, on black leather,
i couldn’t see but said “it tastes bad,”
had it before? Had it always?

one day i said, when we were playing barbies,
“lets go take a shower together”
“no we are too old for that now”
i was ten then, and rejected! oh the loathing!
such a dismissal! didn’t she understand
I wanted to get off? 

the last time it happened,
i was 12, before my spinal fusion, she was now 17, 19?,
before my first nervous breakdown. before i knew.
quick in the back room, he wouldn’t leave.
he was sitting by the door,
they were on to us. he kept asking “what are you doing.”
“go away” “its none of your business” “go away”
whether he sat there listening i don’t know.
usually, the whole thing, was so silent
wet lips on hot flesh
so silent
warm legs around a prepubescent body.
those were the sounds.

time goes by, maybe a week, and then it happened.
my own personal Chernobyl. 

one of those fucking infomercialesque
news updates about AIDS comes onto t.v.
“It appears that all homosexuals are susceptible to the HIV 
me and grandma, that silver couch,
the curtains were pulled and it was sooo dark in there.
“Gram, what is a homosexual?” I say, 12 and naive
“A man who sleeps with a man, or a woman who sleeps with a woman”
the panic, 
the hell, 
the horror
suddenly, i knew, there was something very wrong with me.
no no, don’t jump to wasn’t that I had
been sleeping with my cousin secretly for 7 years,
presently, that wasn’t a concern
but that
I had aids, or would soon, and that I would die.
field of vision shattered. I wanted to get up
and run. 
I stopped eating, I couldn’t, the panic consumed me.
in one month i lost
30 pounds from my frail frame. Father was very, very concerned
especially when he asked
are you anorexic? I just replied
I’m too afraid to eat, I have aids.
You have what?
Sherry kissed me, and I have aids now, because that means i’m gay.
notice the severe understatement of “she kissed me,” I made 
it sound
like some sort of kiss 
on the cheek
cause i knew
there was something extremely wrong with me. at the core of me
i had been damaged, irreconcilably
i had, in ten seconds, went from annie, to something else i 
did not know or understand.
whoever i had been, had been ripped from me
12 with no identity, besides, the homosexual that is going
to die of aids. who has licked the cunt of a woman, and not only that
but someone in her own family!
and as 
as it could sound
i never knew
it was wrong
i never knew
feeling good
was wrong.
of course father told me one day, after it was too late,
“if someone ever tries to touch you there, or there”
pointing at my chest and crotch,
“don’t let them, it’s wrong, you’re still a child”
the way he said it
i thought he meant that it would hurt, 
wrong in that
it would cause pain. I was confused
but not afraid, or ashamed.
as unreal as it may seem
i never knew until that day
that fucking day
my life was melted down
and i showed my first signs of 
the day i made the “break” from reality,
that gentile slip into something else
other than what i was. 
the day i lost my personhood, and self esteem,
and became a thing,
oh the wonders of t.v.

After the weight loss, father took me to the 
family physician
then to the psychiatrist I went. i hid it well,
after i found out
i wasn’t dying
things returned to “normal”. no more trips to
the talking doctor.

me and sherry
never were together again,
nor ever talked about it, or ever really saw each other
until my later teens,
when i would go to buy acid, or ecstasy, or coke, or 
anything else to help me get out of 
the grave we buried each other in.
both knowing. both knowing.
hiding for so long, hidden for so long
we haven’t seen each other in 3 years and 
i wonder
did she ever tell anyone? now at 25? 27? with 
two children.
does anyone know? sometimes
i wonder, when i bring it up
in therapy
and my doctor, squirms
and avoids talking about it.
does it turn him on,
does it make him sick?
when i casually mention it
as if it was nothing, 
to a friend.
are they offended,
are they afraid,
do they think i’m a pedophile?
but i am no longer afraid
the consequences,
they were myths.
when i am with a lover, 
having a hard time getting off, 
sprawled on top of me
like that last time, looming weight pushing
me into that blue. no wonder, i like to be smothered,
i think of her. 

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