The first incision was the worst, the way
my scalpel sank into the strange grey flesh,
the stench, the pig’s eyes shut tight,
as if he couldn’t face the indignity,
his vital organs exposed. Mr. Ormanati bent over
my pig, so close I could smell mints on his breath,
trace the mound of his humpback through
his brown polyester jacket. I longed to touch it,
to see inside his refrigerator, where he kept
his insects; cold, they are easier to dissect.
Sometimes he left the closet door ajar
and if I craned my neck I could just see
his foetal deer, asleep in its huge glass jar.

Each night I’d drag the textbook to my room,
stare at diagrams of musculature until my mother
said goodnight, then by flashlight I’d find
my dog-eared Havelock Ellis, real life stories
of every kind of fetish: shoe sniffing, grown men
in diapers, animals, paedophiles, necrophilia.
By day I’d study the postman or the butcher
hoping they’d betray some hidden desire,
or the boy in my class who sometimes stared back
when Mr. Ormanati touched the curve of the female
reproductive system with his pointer, pronounced
fallopian softly, like the name of a song.

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