Clemson University Homepage Clemson University Home Clemson University Site Index Clemson University Calendar Clemson University Campus Map Clemson University Phonebook

135| Stage Directions

D. Gilson


[act one]

Swim, because swimming is allowed, naked in the waters of Lake Rabun. Late May, cold waters, become north Georgia otters. Memory: your wet head and smashing crawls, fine swimmer’s backs. Boy, lie down on the dock — white washed, sprayed clear of moss and fallen leaves, but still a rotting wood that cleaves — and wrap your arms around the other boy, the shorter one. Pull him into the crook of your own body and no further. Pull him.

[act two]

Cook, in a cabin above the lake, breakfast for dinner. Stir biscuit batter not cut from a can, slick with too much almond milk. Fold in flour, shortening, for mama’s little boys love shortening. Come behind, wrap him again and with your two right hands, stir the greens into caramelized onions, cook it through. Brace your bodies with your two left hands, then plant his on the countertop. Trace his flank, that which no longer isolates, but now links, many sexual practices some prefer to keep asunder. Pull him under.

[act three]

Sleep, because bed sharing is allowed in the basement bedroom, paneled and caved between earth and lake. Your own two hands are those of a cartographer, your own two legs a compass and rope. His body is the uncharted inlet, Bay of Desire-Hard-To-Explain. This is what having a brother is like. Deploy the compass and rope, discover counters of thigh and calf and twist with your own instruments to reel him in. Roll over and train him, your junior cartographer, as the first morning light breaks through the vinyl blinds at widows east. Train him: pull closer.


Return to the water. Return to the kitchen of other houses — watch him make oats from across the gallery as you pour half-decaf Starbucks into Mr. Coffee and your beloved works upstairs before a glowing Hewlett-Packard. Marvel at the mechanics. Return to other beds. Return to other waters. Pull him. Pull.

D. Gilson holds an MFA from Chatham University and is completing a PhD in English at The George Washington University. He is the author of Crush (Punctum Books, 2014), with Will Stockton; Brit Lit (Sibling Rivalry, 2013); and Catch & Release (2012), winner of the Robin Becker Prize from Seven Kitchens Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Indiana Review, and The Rumpus. Find D. at

Clemson University Links Web Site information Contact Clemson University Clemson University Site Index