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Marcus lived two houses down.

At 15 years old we were inseparable.

After school, we watched Rap City,

Yo MTv Raps, He-Man, The Facts of Life.

Life lessons from The Eastland School

as Mrs. Garrett would mete out advice.

We read comics: he Green Lantern and X-Men,

me Batman and Star Trek.

We rode bikes to the record store; we listened to

Public Enemy with spaghetti in our bedrooms.

One night, his parents got us tickets

to a basketball game.

At The Palace of Auburn Hills,

we cheered for Zeke, Worm, Microwave.

In front of us sat Kim Fields, in all her glory;

she laughed and watched the game.

Turning to me, she smiled.

Her dreadlocks and leather jacket so cool.

Tootie smiled at me, and, during that third

quarter, my life was perfect.



I looked at 39 different

anniversary cards


They all sucked.

One said,

“All I want to do is


I love snuggling

w/ you,

but the picture was of

two dogs

cuddling on a heart

shaped rug.

One said,

“We are perfect together

because you always

get all of my


First off,

you’re never afraid

to call my jokes

sophomoric junk.


that’s not really a very

good sign of the

perfect relationship


Thirdly, “all” is implied by


The worst of the lot:

“Love all of your


Love all of our


Love all of your time w/ me.”

I guess,

“Do you realize how

fucking lucky you are,


must have been

sold out.



In the halls of the hospital,

Hatchet held her

holy vigil:

hovering above the


nervous and alone.

Long corridors

full of wild creatures

kept watch over

every breath.

Thanksgiving dinner

in the distance

if only he could escape.

Up and down

those halls.

Up and down the stairs

w/ Suzy on an


She sings,

“Hey Bo Diddley”

to a Bo Diddley beat.

She wonders if there’s


left to meet.

She’s thinking about

the casserole;

He’s thinking about

the street.

The phone on the wall,

in the locked cage

rings out.

Nurses answer

and he runs…

over the roof

and under the fence,

naked and cold

into the night

of silent November





It’s been 20 years since

my left nut swelled to

the size of a lemon.

It was November 2001, and

my son was 6 months old.

We thought it was time so

I made the appointment

and Stephanie sat in

the waiting room.


I laid on the table

with my balls through

a hole in a blanket.

The nurses, Frankie and Annette,

where chattering

about how they were going

to a beach party at one

of the doctors’ houses that


Annette was excited

just to have

been invited.

Frankie felt as if the invitation

signified some sort

of step up in their social standing.

In walked Dr. Killingham

hanging ten.

Boombox under one arm…

surfboard under the other.

Joe Satriani wailed

as the good doctor removed

his board shorts.

It was time

for what has lovingly been referred to

as “Ye olde snippe snippe.”

While surfing with the alien,

he was surfing with my

vas deferens.

With each movement, it felt as though

my intestines were being pulled through

the incision in my sack.

He chatted with Frankie and Annette

about the upcoming party

while bobbing his head

to the music,

catching that perfect wave

of his mind,

and paying

half-assed attention

to my bits and pieces.

It was a Thursday evening.

I wasn’t needed at work

until the following Tuesday

so the long weekend was supposed

to give me plenty of time to recover.

After dinner though,

I started having trouble breathing.

Reclined on the couch,

with my right leg raised onto the back,

and Endless Summer on the television,

I began utilizing the breathing techniques

we’d learned eight months earlier.

Stephanie finally decided

a trip to the hospital was necessary.

She called my Catholic mother

and asked her to watch the kids.

I could hear the conversation

from across the room:

“So… Andre had a vasectomy today.”


“And there’s been some sort of, um,



“So could you come over

and hang with the kids

while I take him to the ER?”

She left the receiver

hanging from the wall

and made the half hour drive

from her house to our apartment

in 15 minutes.

An intern, just hanging loose,

looked me over.

He felt my nuts,

and he jiggled my handle.

It turned out I had

a hematoma

attached to the left one.

My right ball was still normal

so the little walnut sat there,

cut off by

the small citrus fruit.

I limped into class the following Tuesday

to find that Barry Hall

had told my students

to ask why I was limping.

After five minutes of refusal,

they finally broke me down

but soon realized

they should have left well

enough alone.

Every young woman in the room

looked absolutely disgusted;

every young man in agony.

It took six months to clear up,

and I had

blood in my cum

for a couple months after that.


Two years later,

I broke my toe

and lost the nail.

The big left one

has been a little fucked up

ever since.

The nail didn’t grow back correctly

so I saw my doctor.

She told me that there were

three options.

1) Leave it alone and hope it gets better on its own.

2) Apply some sort of lotion to help the nail get over the fleshy bump at the end of my toe.

3) Yank the nail out and cauterize it so I just don’t have one there.

“It’s an easy procedure,”

she said.

“We can do it right here in the office.

Just a couple injections

to dull the pain.”

She motioned to

the sides of my toe

to show

where the needles would go.

“Dr. Killingham does this procedure

every Wednesday evening.”


The guy who botched

my vasectomy?”

“Yeah, those are his specialties:

toenails and vasectomies.”

I chose option one.

It’s been almost twenty years

since my left nut was the size of a lemon.

As I said,

my toenail is still a little fucked up,

but I’m surviving.

My balls are starting to

sag with age,

but the size is okay now too

and there is almost

no pain.


Andre F. Peltier (he/him) is a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Provenance Journal, About Place, Novus Review, Wingless Dreamer, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently he has had a poem accepted by Lavender and Lime Literary. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books. @aandrefpeltier

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