Because he could picture himself curled up on the shelf of the refrigerator between the bread and the light.
Because he stared up at the sprinkler attachment and thought of it as a metal flower.
Because he’d get right up again after he was told to stand up straight, like a soldier.
Because his brother knocked and knocked on the other side of the locked door.
Because he wouldn’t scream for his life when the mother invited Monster to stay with him.
Because the mother seemed to think it all right to have Monster’s sister stay with them.
Because Monster’s family had a statue of a quiet saint amid the bushes on the front yard.
Because Monster came to him in the form of a pretty young girl.
Because of the hush in the room and the pictures in their frames holding absolutely still.
Because when he broke his promise to Monster, the word could no longer be contained, and the mother’s voice got loud and angry.
Because the mother’s face went red, as if he’d been the one who had wanted those things.
Because the father tossed off a joke about it down the hall one night, just out of sight.
Because one brother was bad and one brother was good, and that meant one brother was inside the room and one brother was not.
Because Monster pushed the boy onto his back with a wing.
Because the boy did silence better than anyone: he was no slouch.
Because the father stopped looking at the boy in the eye for years, as if he were afraid of him.
Because the boy girded his arms and his legs, for he knew not how to stop the story that had been written on him.
Because Monster said, I can eat whatever I want to eat.
Because the boy went looking for that feeling everywhere.
Because the blood of the weak goes down like tea.
Because Monster appears again and again in the form of a man, in the form of a woman, and in the form of a dog who shits on the grass.
Because a bath will warm you all the way to your lungs.
Because he’s not able to take no without feeling a piece of ceiling breaking inside him.
Because when he says no he must shore up a mountain within himself.
Because it is easier to cry for the woman on the porch who can’t seem to find a way to cry for herself.
Because he nods when he’s told: The Devil’s come here to help us.
Because he knows it is his duty to find the bomb beneath the couch.
Because he stops returning the calls of the friend who wants to make a lunch of him.
Because he doesn’t mind when his face is cut out of the photo.
Because across the sea a man puts a leash around the neck of another man and screams at him to bark seventy-seven times.
Because he will look past the ash in his stocking to the one glittering thing.
Because the woman thinks his brain is something she can sculpt.
Because he could find the needles in the bag and not think the needles could be put to use.
Because the deer leaps through a cut in the fence, plays out on the gravel for a time, and goes back in again.