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Louisiana Anthology

Kevin Cutrer.
“The School Custodian on the Birds and the Bees.”

© Kevin Cutrer.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

I’d say consult your biology book but textbooks never cover looks exchanged across the lunchroom table: the language is too … clinical, no boy meets girl, just sperm meets egg. I guess by now you’ve discovered legs as if they were a phenomenon never before stumbled upon. This doesn’t make you Ponce de Léon. You’re just a part of the old pattern everyone sees, but no one learns in time to do them any good. Some things I’ve never understood: how certain men among us choose, as in a game of duck-duck-goose, a random gal and marry her. They practice on a terrier, then work at rearing a real kid. The marriage clearly on the skids, they see the ingrate brat through college, then call it quits at middle age with a dead dog and double mortgage. See how a woman yearns for the prince that Disney promised her, convinces herself he lives next door — poor guy, he only wanted to get by unscathed in life, but now he lives with royalty who won’t forgive his falling short of her ideal. They bicker over every meal. They’re just a part of the old pattern everyone sees, but no one learns. Myself, I never met their doom. I never had to share my room. I’ve circled all the small round earth, found only once a woman worth a second date, but she belonged to a man who bought her silk sarongs and threw rose petals at her feet. My one brown penny could scarce compete. It hurt to lose her years ago and pains me even now to know the blessed infinities we share are lost to that hot hemisphere I left behind when love left me. That’s when I first began to see we’re all a part of an old pattern. Unlike the others, I have learned. Do you and I and everything that crawls the earth amount to nothing but head-on collisions of egg and sperm, an accident of germ on germ? I’d rather say our hearts are fish in a Sargasso sea that thrash to lure the bigger fish we pray will swallow us and do away with all this floating in the deep that’s so dark dawn wakes us to new sleep, for we can never close our eyes to the cold and dark that paralyze, for lids would only lid the black with black … and magnify our lack of wherewithal to merely move. Welcome annihilation. That’s love.

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Cutrer, Kevin. Lord’s Own Anointed. Loveland, Ohio: Dos Madres, 2015. Print. © Kevin Cutrer. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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