John Chapman

The Boy Thing

My mom told the therapist how I played with Barbies
as a child, pulling on tiny tights over their plastic hips and hacking
away hair that never grew back. She sat
on the worn leather sofa, her legs tightly
crossed and shaky fingers desperate for a cigarette
to soothe her knuckles, and said,
“It’s not about the boy thing.” – Thing,
like the old desk chair, whose puke
green cushion felt deflated and lumpy.
Outside, just before taking another drag,
she said, “You’ll never really be a boy.” In one long
exhale, she stared at me until I turned away.
Sometimes, when I’m in the bathroom, forced
to look down at the fake dick 
pissing into a urinal, I believe her.

John Chapman graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology and recently graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a BFA in Creative Writing. He’s currently writing a science-fantasy novel as well as researching Civil War field musicians for a nonfiction book he hopes to write. He plans on returning to Boston to break into the publishing world.