Mudlark No. 56 (2015)

Clean Man

I want a clean man, she thought—a man who bathes, and if not each day, then, say, four times a week. A man who shaves, but if he’s got a beard then trims that beard, clips those wild hairs from his nose & ears, a man who won’t walk through the house and belch & fart or snort & spit into the sink like some men do, a man not too clean, of course—not crazed with it but one who knows that his own clothes are his to wash—is this too much to wish for?

Some nights in bed I think that if I had a man like that I’d oil him—feet, legs, back, neck—the way a boy might wax the car he just bought. Grapeseed oil, I’d use—his thighs like oak, his back like teak, each arm a thin birch stripped of its bark, I’d sculpt him, my hands traced into his skin, and when he stood my prints would burn in him, stay with him, seen by no one, but he knows they’re there, I know they’re there, and when he moves in the world, this clean man, he hears my lips at the nape of his neck, Come back. Come back.

Gerald Fleming | Ache
Contents | Mudlark No. 56 (2015)