To Scrub the Flesh

Once, in the seventies, my parents drove us up to my father’s family in northern Ohio. The state roads motioned through dense wilderness, dark green forests and small towns. It was the season of the cicadas. When you walked outside, the drumming of the insects names pulsed over your skin, as a swimming in warm water. Everywhere you looked, brittle bodies coated the ground, inside gas station windows, under parked cars, over porch steps.

We drove an American-made car with a French-sounding name. It was painted an Earth dun hue, caramel toned. After it was traded for a newer model, for years afterwards I would see cloned replicas of it on the highway— constant reminders of the past: elementary school, my father’s receding hairline, my mother’s insisting nature.
48/ Some nights, he feels extremely lecherous. As a horny old goat. A slow gaited flasher in the city’s park. On such times, Pan logs into web sites seeking younger flesh— the soft smile of a nymph digitized on a flickering laptop, or the overly painted divorcee. The curious banker. Pan slips into chat forums to exchange smut, mud. The dirty phrase or allusion to any willing ear. Wanting to scrub his flesh with grit of everyday obscenities, the blue, soft-core indecencies of desire.


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