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These boys lifting up their shirts, boys with boy names like lucas and sam and micah, scars pressed newly into their chests, are always kissing one another.

Here is how a boy takes off a piece of clothing: he grabs a handful of shirt by the nape and slips it off his body. No crossing, no snag, and if he had no hands he could still do it. I join them, sort-of boy with hips and wide teeth, cuts so fresh that all that holds them together is tape and lemon juice. In a dream I touch my scars to their scars, that angry lip to angry lip finding the closest thing it can to itself. The line of a flat body sure against my own, two bodies making up for all that new space.

These boys know they are boys. They are strong with that knowledge, it furs their cheeks and thickens their throats; they say they are boys and then they make it so. The girl name gilds me, and still I give it to them, and it marks me for what I am, an interloper amongst the boys watching them kiss desperately, the only way they know how.

Some of the boys and I have the same chest, carved by the same person, the same scalpel even, the same line tilted upwards at the corner, the same transposed pair of eyes that know no rest. If we hugged, our scars would match better than any pair of lips. But I am not a boy. But I am no longer welcomed into that other place, and so I go where I can be known in this way—to the boys, and some of them men, but most of them still making up for lost time, and all of them the closest thing to what I am.