7   +   2   =  

My friend whose mom died shows me his room. He shows me a lighter. He shows me a knife. He shows me a fake hand he keeps in his closet. My friend whose mom died, he shows me a grenade. “Disarmed,” he says, like he’s teaching me the word. He shows me seventeen dollars stuffed inside a pencil box. He shows me a tiny animal skull, cradling it in his arms like a baby. “Touch it,” he says, cradling his tiny skull-baby. My friend whose mom died has a tiny little skull-baby and he tells me to touch it. “Touch it,” he says, then yanks it away. My friend whose mom died, he shows me the letter K scratched into his arm. “K,” he says. “For kill.” My friend whose mom died, he says, “I’ll give you one if you want.” He says, “I’ll give you a K if you want.” My friend whose mom died shows me a game where he says, “You be the girl and I’ll be the boy.” He closes the door and he says, “You be the girl and I’ll be the boy.” I am the girl and he–my friend whose mom died–is the boy until we hear the backdoor open. We hear the backdoor open and my friend whose mom died, he shows me a BB gun. He shows me half a pack of cigarettes. He shows me a condom his cousin Ricky gave him, dangling it in my face. “Touch it,” he says, then yanks it away. He shows me a sticker he stuck on the wall behind his bed. It says, “SAVE A TREE EAT A BEAVER.” My friend whose mom died, he shows me a photo of a lady with crooked yellow teeth. My friend whose mom died, he shows me a photo of this crooked-toothed lady and says, “That’s her.” He says, “That’s her. That’s my mom.” He says, “She’s dead.” My friend whose mom died, he says, “She’s dead,” like having a dead mom is the same as having a knife, a grenade, seventeen dollars, a tiny little skull-baby no one else can touch.