B I L D U N G S R O M A N: An Excerpt from ‘Bury It

Poem by Sam Sax


Image: Wesleyan University Press. (Purchase)

i never wanted to grow up to be anything horrible as a man. my biggest fear was the hair they said would snake from my chest, swamp trees breathing as i ran. i prayed for a different kind of puberty: skin transforming into floor boards muscles into cobwebs, growing pains sounding like an attic groaning under the weight of old photo albums. as a kid i knew that there was a car burning above water before this life, i woke here to find fire scorched my hair clean off until i shined like glass — my eyes, two acetylene headlamps. in my family we have a story for this my brother holding me in his hairless arms. says

dad it will be a monster we should bury it.

SAM SAX is a queer, Jewish writer and educator. The author of ‘Madness’ (Penguin, 2017), winner of The National Poetry Series, and ‘Bury It’ (Wesleyan University Press, 2018) winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, Sam has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, and the MacDowell Colony. He’s currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.