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Shaking Penises

by Dane Cervine

The immigrant boy from the Philippines smiled, raised his hand, said Yes when the teacher asked if anyone had ever touched his private parts. Worried at the boy’s eager admission, a social worker investigated, removed him from his home. After months of court testimony, appeals, it was deemed a cultural mistake—a tribal ritual, this greeting of young boys by shaking their penises. The now frightened boy returned to his father, his uncles and grandfathers, who no longer knew how to honor his manhood in this country—grasping instead his limp hands, shaking each one as a foreign language.

About the Author

Dane Cervine’s recent books include Earth Is a Fickle Dancer (Main Street Rag), and The Gateless Gate – Polishing the Moon Sword, from Saddle Road Press in Hawaii, a cross-genre work of Zen koan & prose poems. Previous poetry books include Kung Fu of the Dark Father, How Therapists Dance, The Jeweled Net of Indra, and What a Father Dreams. Dane’s poems have won awards from Adrienne Rich, Tony Hoagland, the Atlanta Review, Caesura, and been nominated for a Pushcart. His work appears in The SUN, the Hudson Review, TriQuarterly, Poetry Flash, Catamaran, Miramar, Rattle, Sycamore Review, Pedestal Magazine, among others. Visit his website!

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