When he sinks his heels
into the sodden courtyard grass,
the muddy leather skin of his Oxfords
smells of death — vulgar and earthy —
and he rather likes it.
The stench summons
in him distant visions;
Young men crossing the university’s
the academe’s dark walls
whispering secret knowledge to them
that only much older men
possess and protect.
His rubber heels
crack hard against
the waxed floors of the commons,
pounding out an archaic chant
once clapped by paternal hands.
Take. Take. Take.
He would take
the smooth summer legs
now littering the hallways
and break each heart-shaped pelvis
at the throbbing axis of
its golden pillars.
He would take them apart
against the Bridgeport bricks,
alternating his thrusts inside them
with hot waves of disgust and desire,
ravenous flies circling the carnage of
broken bodies and innocence lost.
The musky air of
these stomping grounds
floods his nostrils beneath
the sliver of his faint mustache
as he walks from class to class,
waiting to reclaim the antique pages of
a history he felt owed to.
Abby Mangel is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas in San Antonio. She is an Honorable Mention for the Saturday Evening Post's 2021 Great American Fiction Contest.