My Boyfriend

After Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel

His Exterior

toes like blue glass marbles
nails like wax shavings
feet like those of an elephant   
heels like narrow escapes
soles like yellow sponges expanding in water   
legs like longitude and latitude   
knees like neon headlights
thighs like open desert in a movie   
hips like a leaping horse
a belly button like a luminescent watch   
pubic hair like frontier instances   
a penis like overnight mail
balls large as a boar-hound’s
seminal vesicles like tulip bulbs in a paper bag   
testicle muscles like rising chords   
an asshole like an undiscovered planet   
buttocks like a fleet antelope’s   
a sacrum like plein air painting   
a back like a chalked sidewalk   
a spinal column like a suspension bridge   
ribs like a bookcase
a sternum like gum
shoulder blades like kitchen tables   
a chest like a stuffed animal
pectorals like floating bars of soap   
shoulders like observed facts
arms like lassos
fingers like sparklers
wrist bones like a shipyard
elbows like antidotes
hands like passports
an Adam’s apple like a great circle course
a beard like Whitman’s
a chin like a lichen-splotched rock   
ears like a full bathtub
a nose like a birdcage
nostrils like subway tunnels   
eyebrows like a captive audience   
a birthmark like a stop sign   
eyelids like a partial eclipse   
eyes like effervescence
optical nerves like an orchid
a forehead like a window display   
temples like singing crickets   
cheeks like party invitations   
jaws like handcuffs
teeth like sweet tea
a tongue like watercolors
a mouth like a silk lampshade   
a face like a moving picture   
a head like a jar of pennies   
a skull like a geode
skin with a black line running down it   
epidermis like a wool sweater   
whiskers like a street sweeper   
and hair like a cloudy day.

His Interior

cerebellum like a coffee grinder
cerebral lobes like a house on fire
cranial membranes like a construction-paper diorama   
optical nerves like a developing Polaroid
cerebral fornix like colonial maps
pineal gland like a giant pinecone
circulatory system like cello strings
eardrums like a still life with oranges
forehead like television   
backbone like a fiddlehead fern
nerve channels like transatlantic cables
uvula like a propeller   
palate like a telegram
saliva like a rotating sprinkler
tonsils like action figures
stomach like professional wrestling
trachea like pirate radio
throat like a bold headline
lungs like plastic bags caught in a tree
heart like a supernova
pulmonary membranes like dirigibles
arteries like rush hour   
diaphragm like the sound barrier
liver like a public trial
veins like Japanese characters
spleen like a rogue   
bowels like surrealism   
guts like an inheritance
small intestine like fake pearls
large intestine like stolen currency
colon like reliable data   
rectum like a fade-out   
kidneys like a barrier reef
loins like a mowed lawn   
renal veins like gossip   
sperm glands like lava beds   
prostate like a fissure vent   
bladder like a fish bowl   
abdomen like a leather suitcase   
muscles like an assembly line   
tendons like pickpockets   
ligaments like safety pins   
bones like bones
marrow like realism
cartilage like strips of kelp   
lymph glands like sentimentality   
urine like sugar water   
blood like melted crayons   
and sperm like flies in amber.

How He Acts

If he laughs, it’s spontaneous combustion   
If he mutters, it’s a retreating glacier
If he pouts, he sharpens his horn on stones
If he jumps up and down, its hard to look away
If he scratches himself, it’s with an aspen branch
If he gets angry, he fights with tooth, horn, and heel   
If he spits, he fights his own kind   
If he blows his nose, it starts a riot   
If he sweats, it’s monsoons
If he coughs, it unlocks doors in the next room
If he argues, it’s over lost rituals
If he sighs, it ruffles goldfinch feathers   
If he whistles, it’s overheard miles away   
If he snores, it’s over nostalgic reveries
If he scowls, spears launch from his eyes   
If he snorts, it’s over gilt lion-head spouts   
If he shits, it’s historical documents   
If he belches, it’s a diary
If he vomits, there’s finger-pointing all around
If he walks, it’s Chaplin
If he writes, it’s manifestos
If he goes shopping, it’s for lentils and peas   
If he dances, it’s the Rites of Spring   
If he swears, he’s a ryght cruell beast
If he drives, it’s among the Mountains of the Moon   
If he bathes, it’s in deceptive surfaces   
If he dresses, it’s a white linen suit   
If he wonders, it’s if his own reflection   
If he’s jealous, it’s of birthday parties   
If he lies, it’s about mathematical errors   
If he spends money, it’s on magic lanterns   
If he goes to the movies, it’s Vertigo
If he listens to music, it’s the sound of running water
If he falls, it’s down a slope of turf into the bushes   
If he recites, it’s from the Beast Epic of Alexandria   
If he is seduced, it’s a river of electricity
If he is curious, he attempts to draw
If he calls, it’s about weather patterns
If he sings, it’s ‘Tyger, Tyger’
and if he escapes, he’s swift of foot.
Camille Guthrie, “My Boyfriend” from In Captivity, published Subpress. Copyright © 2006 by Camille Guthrie. Used by permission of the author.
Source: In Captivity (Sub Press, 2006)
More Poems by Camille Guthrie