Sylvia Sukop

The extra long double dildo conjoining two Los Angeles performance artists at the Triple X Festival in Amsterdam where I took my brother Alex who was fifteen that summer a straight boy traveling with Audrey and me staying with us at the gay inn with its jumbo GAY AMSTERDAM fold out maps he paused on street corners to peruse in tight corduroy pants his wavy almost ass length blond hair radiant in the breeze like Botticelli’s Venus remarking how friendly everyone was coming up to talk to him which triggered my sudden sinking feeling in the darkened theater sitting next to him as his surrogate mother since ours had been dead two years and a panic that I was doing it all wrong exposing him to extreme body art and the mutual anal penetration of two men HIV positive who made the question of disease and public anxiety around it a centerpiece of their act and not sure which was worse exposing my baby brother to the sex or to the intimations of mortality of the men on stage tattooed and sweating and naked on their knees in a performance of pain and pleasure then reminding myself that Alex was no longer the Catholic school boy he had been when our mother died and that surely he must have had sex by now with his girlfriend though I never asked him and while he did not as far as I knew have gay friends in his Pennsylvania high school he did have me and Audrey and had known us as a couple for years the years of the plague taking friends of ours but not us because little danger to monogamous lesbians but the guys on stage were undaunted and owning their bodies and their infections and a few short years later so would Alex when he got sick and somehow did not hate the cancer cells blooming in his still teenaged body suddenly fitted with an old man’s colostomy bag his anus retired from service and come to think of it also from play and he would spend his final weeks naked and most comfortable on his knees and shorter now his hair grew dull and dry pointing stiff in every direction and the night before he died he asked for a bowl of warm water and dipped a washcloth into it wringing it out before running it over his skin and repeated that several times a ritual without a prayer and when he finished exhausted I asked him if he would like me to do his ears and he nodded yes and I inserted the Q tip like I used to when he was little first one ear then the other and was astonished it came out clean


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