Your Beard

I imagine you,
Ten years old and laying in your bed,
On a single mattress with white cotton sheets,
The breeze blows the window’s curtain open,
Letting in the cool night air, smelling of ozone.

You take one small fingertip,
Your skin bathed, new and soft,
Smelling of Ivory soap and clean fingernails,
You touch your jaw, pressing in to discover the structure of your body,
Your face, the muscles, the epidermis, the blood, the pores,
You touch, wishing to find hair, sprouts whirling to the surface,
The smallest beard resting on your chin like a crown.

You are a prince,
You have traveled distances,
And now you rest between, always between,
36 years later, you stroke your chin,
Eking out the differences between child and adult.

I want to hunt a pelt for you,
Take your dream and cover you with it tenderly,
With you smoothing, caressing your warm flesh,
Wanting so much.

You’ll find it between day and night,
Between fragments of time,
Jumbled until linearity is unimportant,
The ozone of thunderclap and change,
Lifting you, a growling bear,
Face raised and hair bristling,
Your beard growing, growing.
You laying in your bed,
Me, touching your jaw with my bathed fingertip,
The graying crown,
We are kings.


About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a genderqueer San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist, and artist who grew up in Iran. They live with their Maine Coon cat, Lulu, and bake yeasted waffles every Sunday morning. Behrouz Gets Lucky is their first novel. You can find their erotic short stories sprinkled in various anthologies, including Best Lesbian Erotica 2015 and Sex Still Spoken Here. Avery is currently working on a book of more of Behrouz and Lucky's shenanigans, a memoir, and an illustrated early reader children's book about a eight year old transgender boy and his family.
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