It's at any time- I stop and think about him, get flutter cotton in my stomach; like claws they leave open cuts with dizzy ecstasy and often my eyes turn dead, and I am not longer breathing, all flooded up with blood, seeping to where I least need it. I shift and think of the sickness, the damage, the broken flesh and all the scarring until I adjust my pants and will away the invasion, insectoid creatures of different sizes and shapes, woven by perversion. I want to punish myself, drown desire, cut away the throbbing, but it's him.
It's always him, pretty thighs and a chubbiness about his face, still young and pale with a nose like our mother's. Freckles like hers before she caked foundation to hide the crumbling walls, the cracks that give way to wisdom; instead she has chosen vanity. I used to love her, but I can turn that off, and it all belongs to him.
Cotton bugs chatter, unclean and rough, my fingers too calloused to ease them out of my pores. Outside they would writhe and wither, no longer harmful, no longer placing their thoughts into my head and making me so intensely desire his mouth. He sleeps with me because he's too old to crawl between our parents and seek their pity; he breathes, he breathes, and it brings to surface the horrible scratching, biting, the insatiable need-
He wouldn't say anything. I've been guided like a marionette in dazed states, intoxicated breath weighing my actions and dulling my judgment, and the insects ripple and manipulate tissue and I've put him in my mouth. I know his taste, sweet and soft on my tongue. His chest and neck, the sleepy sounds he makes when he's feigning slumber.
But I haven't made him return pleasure. I look at his mouth and hands: plump lips, plump fingers, the dimples where his knuckles will grow. He has a curve at his waist that puberty will steal and an innocence unknown in a bitter world. I bleed for my lust, I choke around seething larvae, I put my hands on his hips and tell him he can stay with me when I leave to my own home.
Ten years difference. He was an accident, and they wouldn't care if I took a mistake, because he's their anguish and my treasure. Him. Sweet, hideous, and unlike the skin of any other. I've bedded women, felt them beneath me and found it dissatisfying, but I took men the same. There's only one that appeases the buzzing and quits the pain and for moments at a time I forget that he's the cause.
Ripped open again and again. Big brown eyes, five years life, no middle name, missing two baby teeth. He grips my hand sometimes with both of his and asks to be held. He doesn't know it's wrong, and the punishment is dire. I am going to die by the insects' collective hand, but they want it more than I do.
I wouldn't want it without them, but they won't leave me. They won't leave me alone, and they know they're lascivious, wanton, flooded with euphoria by the sight of him bathing. Mom asks me to supervise his baths, and he asks, "Like last time. Can we like last time?"
And they'll pull him to the edge of the tub and they'll stroke his knee and then his thigh and whisper, "Sure." In my voice, in my body, in my guilt.
He curves to me, purrs and kneads and grips me and looks at me with heat. He isn't naive. Not entirely, not anymore. I stole that from him- they did, really, but it's me sometimes. It's me sometimes, just me, alone and kneeling on the tile and the whole room is cold.
Like ice and he shivers, shudders, quivers, cracks, tenses, whimpers- he begs me to stop, and I do, but he crawls out of the tub and nestles against me and my clothes are wet and I'm bleeding. They crawl and fly, they splinter and pinch me, and I am inside myself, I am with them, I am standing at their height and gripping him-
He needs me. He needs me because no one else wants him. Because I care for him, because I'd throw away myself for him, because there is only us in this bathroom, in this house, in this world. There is only us and the buzzing-
But there is only us.