by Ariel Maccarone

When I imagine them, I imagine them as boys. I imagine the days of sun that would have leathered once soft adolescent skin, revealing the men they would become.

Their bodies would be covered in freckles and bleached arm hair. Smiles would have yet carved themselves into lines. Their eyebrows would have shaped the angst unique to adolescence. Uniforms were grass-stained jeans and t-shirts with necks that hung too low.

I imagine fathers who called them simply “boy,” as in “Boy, get me my shoes.” I imagine inattentive mothers who smoked cheap cigarettes and wore eyeglasses with pastel blue rims.


When they raped her, they were still boys. I pray that, on some level, they knew this—that they were not ready to be men. I know that they didn’t—or rather that they didn’t care. Each time I confront this, I hit a wall and feel it absorb the impact—the amorality of knowledge.


I still clench my thighs—right where they penetrated her. I imagine the warmth of their cocks as they shoved themselves inside her. Apart from the deluge of thoughts she had, I imagine that one of them must have been “I wish they hadn’t felt so warm.”


I read the stories over and over hoping eventually the images will rub themselves away, or into a grey I have to squint to see. They do not. They have stained a part of my mind like nicotine steals the liver.


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