Wooden Boy doesn’t have an answer
to the question posed in Men’s Health.
Of course he hates his lanky, spindly body,
with its cracks & staples, rusting hinges,
his sharply pointed hair, always coiffed
on the left. That night he picks his fingers
to splinters, tries to hack his glued-on shoes
off, put his waist between the vice in his
father’s workshop, not strong enough to pull
the handle just enough to break in two. But
as he dangles there, feet kicking feebly in the air,
weeping weak oily tears that stain his roughly-hewn
cheeks, a soft blue light comes to him, dances
around his head, goes in one ear & out the other,
a tiny floating orb that seems to carry a piece of
music, just a few repeating bars, & to Wooden Boy
it is a solemn hymn, sung only at a holy site, &
the holy site must be his ravaged body,
this blue pilgrim touring the derelict remnants
of his body, & in the morning he looks at the
magazine, ignores the chiseled abs of the smooth
faced men, & he knows his body is a temple
because it is a ruin, because he has ruined it.
Michael Pittard is an English lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has an MFA in poetry from UNCG and is a former poetry editor of The Greensboro Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bookends Review, Red Flag Poetry and Poetry South. His criticism has been published in the Chicago Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly, and storySouth.