Emptying the Boxes

By Luca Penne

When I kiss a young woman, orgasm is just around the corner like a U.P.S. truck with a special delivery – she can count on that.

Ask Jessie who cleans my ears with a straw and sometimes dabs the crust off my chin with a little Witch Hazel. Ask Brittany who cats around my ancestral home as though she’s looking for a mouse to kill and says I’m the greatest lover who ever blew wind in her ear. And ask Mandy who taught me how to avoid bruising

and how to get out of the screaming lotus without injuring myself again.

After love I’m sleepy as smoke and the ghost of my wife hovers,
warning me not to sign anything. Quarters clink in a cup.

Something drips and drips. I hold my bowels and my pee, waiting for the fog to clear or a bell to ring or the voice of my mother, in corset and lipstick, smoking a cigarette, to snap me awake for my chores.
Three times each week, Shelly, my massage therapist gives me

deep tissue massage. “Relax,” she says, “You’re famous. Now let me get in there.” I’m not sure where in there is, but before too long I’m screaming in pain under her muscular shoulders and sharp fingers.

I sweat over pages, emptying boxes of memories, everything

that anyone would want to know about how I became a legend.

Once Eliot advised me, “If you want the pleasure of female companionship, aim for the center of the pot and clean up the puddle.” When I told Ez this, he remarked, “Eliot’s lucky he can even find the pot, let alone hit it dead center.”
What’s left of my hair sticks up funny and when I look in a mirror or window, something is missing, but no one notices so I must still be okay. My friends no longer even remember what it feels like to have a good hard on, and in truth, half of what I say about myself
I read in someone else’s book, but I remember every last dime that’s owed to me, every last favor that needs to be repaid and I’m not letting anyone off the hook.


Luca Penne’s work has appeared in several e and print journals. He lives in West Lebanon NH and builds barns, when employed, which isn’t often.

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