Will You Still Love Me Once the Moonwalk Stops?

Justin Brouckaert

The cicadas outside my window dare me to define the terms of this relationship. Bravado like that will get a guy salty, but of course I have to try. I tell them this: that all my sexual fantasies are of the two of us fully clothed, flipping through pictures of ourselves naked & saying Gotdamn we used to tear that shit up. I tell them these days I keep my hands on things like never before. I slip out of my skin midstride, leaving rubbery pods in streets & sidewalks. People call me out on it. They hold me up to my face & ask me if I realize what I’ve done. I say, Hello, have you met my other demons? There are these cicadas. There is this hide I thought I swallowed, my heart & groin cinched with wire. There is this husk you left at the foot of my bed that is beginning to seem indecent. I sit in the corner booth at family restaurants licking napkins into pulp, shaping a something to fill the hollow you carved with your chin between my shoulders. It is only a hollow, I say to the husk. I am drunk. I have been drunk for a long time now. I rub grooves into my sides until the friction makes a song.

JUSTIN BROUCKAERT’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Passages North and Gigantic Sequins, among other publications. He is a James Dickey Fellow at the University of South Carolina, where he serves as fiction editor of Yemassee. Find him online at or on Twitter @JJBrouckaert.