I catch my father
admiring them on the boys
who live in our block, boys
who bellow at each other
on the basketball court, boys
who fill their cars with petrol,
who work in tight blue jeans
at the taverna in the park.

My schoolmates carry theirs
with pride. True bone rising
from stiff-gelled heads
and yet I know my neck
could not stand the weight.

Vitamins and vats of milk
can’t make mine grow.
Still small as thumbs,
even coating them in honey
mixed with blood
will not work.

I watch the boys
muck around in the schoolyard,
how they always seem to compare
scars, to size each other up. I watch
how a playful little slap
in the face escalates into
combat, into rutting, twisting
violence, pulled-up shirts
exposing lean, winter-pale
waists, sweating
bodies and antlers
intertwined.