Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Bramble Lane

Then the gangly neighbor boy—who years later lost his daughter to
the water-heater fire,
who taught the paste-faced boys in Briarwood about masturbation,
using himself as anatomical model
and illustration in hydraulics—turned to me in the woods and said,
“Your father, he took
his big thingie and he put it into your mother’s little thing, and then
you came out. That’s how
they make babies. That’s the big secret. And every man, he can do
that business to any woman he meets.
My father whipped me after he told me. He told me it would help me

Later my father tried to tell me the secret that can be told only once,
and you remember,
whether someone beats you or not. That’s the other secret.  

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