I Am Become a Man

Jack Underwood
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with fats around my organs lightly 
hair grown on my shoulders 
lightly death in all my actions as I build 
a log-store shirtless in the autumn.

I hate this gathering and deepening
beneath my pale tabard; boyhood gone
and with it all my girlishness: hands-
lasso-move-and-shimmy; now my hips 
thrust solemn as lorries gather in a layby 
to discuss my remaining options.
I cannot leave the barbecue unsupervised
as I focus on ignoring my body 
in the changing-rooms. Not one 
of the maximum eight permitted items 
fits me nicely. Handsome is for horses, 
house plants, hotels, tall and deco 
in dreamy pastel shades.
I’ve never wanted to fight anyone 
ever, or be real this way and mean it. 
I just want to bellow love unbridled, 
an elk beneath an overpass, and retire 
my life gently, so that capable hands 
need not lift much soil or sadness.

This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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