March 26, 2023


by Jonathan Fletcher

Though nearly thirty, I turn back into a six-year-old boy on the corner of your bed. I’m still afraid of the dark. I need a nightlight, my mother’s pats atop my back, before I can fall asleep. 

I ask you to leave the lights bright. With annoyance, you dim the room, remind me we’re
not here to sleep. Oh, Jonathan! Wake up, look, watch!

Gently biting your bottom lip, you guide the slider of your zipper along its teeth, where brass meets denim. Must they be called teeth? 

Friction is fun, unzipping sexy. Supposedly. But I want my Teddy Ruxpin. He’s a bear. Fuzzy, warm. His vest unbuttons, unzips. We used to cuddle in bed. But my mother never liked him, threw him out when he begun to fray, smell.

With jeans now down to your socks, you unhook your bra, slide off your panties. Black lace lands on my leather loafers. Why do I feel more nude than you? Mouth slightly creased into
a smile, clothes wrinkled, you sit atop sheets yearning to be crumpled. 

As you pat the bed, I try to guess your brand of pants. Levi’s? H&M? Old Navy? Does that matter? Yes!

Though I know I shouldn’t be thinking about other women, I can’t stop seeing the shadow
of my mother, flashlight in hand, checking for monsters in my closet, below my bed. None here, Jonathan! 

But later, the hinges of my door would creak, the coils of my mattress squeak. What noises
             are scarier? Until tonight, I’d never felt more frightened.


Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher, a BIPOC writer, currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  He has been published in Arts Alive San AntonioThe BeZine, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, fws: a journal of literature & art, Half Hour to Kill, Lone Stars, MONO., Moot Point, New Feathers, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, Synkroniciti, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, voicemail poems, Voices de la Luna, and Waco WordFest.  His work has also been featured at The Briscoe Western Art Museum.