Adapted from the Fujita Scale, used to measure tornadoes by the destruction wrought.
A cock’s just a small soft part that dolls don’t even have. Least of my cares! I’ve already grown the shadow of a mustache at age six. A girl in a group project says, “You look like my grandpa. You’ll vote for Bob Dole. He’ll make you smoke cigars.” All of this is new! What’s a cigar? What’s a Bob Dole? I’m bored, I’m busy, I’m absently rubbing that small soft cock against the metal desk leg while across the table Scott talks about recess and his twin brother Luke, who’s in another class, who I want to know more about.
F1 – Moderate
A Christian romance writer runs the campground where I stay, heading west. She leaves her newest novel in the cabin, a courtesy. In it, a God-fearing cowgirl leads a wayward man out of trouble at a rodeo of sodomites. A rodeo of sodomites! But I can’t get off to it—on all the horny rodeo clowns, metaphors bulge where their cocks should be: They grab their stiff sin. Their deviance throbs. I feel ripped off, my soft pink skin too numb to mean much at all.
F2 – Considerable
A boyfriend shits, just a bit, while I fuck him. This is during the month I’m reading Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet each night before bed. She writes about stickiness. Of plunging an infant’s hand into honey, she says Sartre said, “The stickiness is a trap. It attacks the boundary between myself and it.” Greek poets thought they would melt in love, called Eros the melter of limbs, the lover a piece of wax. “The lover learns as he loses it to value the bounded entity of himself.” We use condoms these days, so I still feel pretty self-contained.
F3 – Severe
“The butt guys,” my dad begins. “Don’t their dicks ever feel left out?”
F4 – Devastating
Any old mattress might be down to host. I wake with an itch. Later that night, poison powders, insecticide, and rubber gloves weight my tote. My history is an inventory of rash, of corpse. On my knees, I use sandwich bags as a trap, I toothpick the speck I find in the seam: what I feared was life is only dust. Thank God! And on the seventh day I rest where on these sheets a twink once spread, said, fuck me till all I am is pain. What’s a guest but a good time to dissociate?
F5 – Incredible
Life reduces itself to math. There’s a beer pong table in a yard. Three drunk boys shout whore to a drunk girl (it’s morning). Around the bend of the tree-lined street, a man will prick my finger. I’ll die and deserve it. I looked up the chances, though I don’t trust the source. Step by step, I do the math.
F6 – Inconceivable
I feel so guilty about the couch where I came, leaving a stain, in the Sioux City Airbnb. I get on my knees, try to rub clean the microsuede with hand soap and spit. There’s a family beside a cross on a shelf. I worry they’ll trace me, put me on a list—but once we’re gone, our host writes to say, You left my home immaculate.