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Going Through Puberty in a Foreign Tongue Derek White

It started out as a hole in my mother’s courtyard. 

In my head, Corn Tassel came through for me, shouldering the bulge of maize bundled in moist fabric. Over the red-tiled rooftops, a chorus of roosters cock-a-doodled off key. She had no face yet, for I did not pray to stone.

I was becoming more and more aware of the lymph nodes where my legs attached to my body. My left hand was up, scraping plaster from the crumbling adobe walls, and my right hand was a vestigial monkey tail dangling to my side for balance. This was the pose ‘I’ struck as I stumbled over the corner stone to some unknown ancient altar and stepped into The Hole, forgetting the lymph nodes for a split second.

Herein lies the other figures discovered in The Hole:

Monkey House
Noble Sweatbath
Not Right Now
Fish in the Ashes
The Modeler

… and Corn Tassel was honorably mentioned (by Cabeza de Vaca), and there were others like Shrimp Cocktail that I had yet to encounter, and there was the ever-present smell of cornhusks burning in the fields, and my mother standing, a joint wedged between her own knuckles, accusing me of re-opening the wound.

I hadn’t left home. I couldn’t leave until I graduated from the Monkey House, whose tongue I had not swallowed yet.

I opened my mouth to defend myself and my voice cracked an octave. Thunder rumbled overhead but the sky did not split open. Monkey House rattled in my voice box, but in my head I gave Corn Tassel a pair of tight lips.