I wish I could still scream like that. Enough to puncture a lung. Every cell self-harming. *** I loved my mother once. When I was seven, I became gruesomely constipated as I was deathly afraid of my cousin’s smelly downstairs bathroom and repulsed by his miniature Schnauzer. I cried for my mom. She took me home and sat with me as I bled from my asshole. Much of the time I got with my dad was spent playing basketball. I was never any good, but I clung to it since he had played in high school and would only break his bad finger while playing every year or so. *** It started with a dainty ‘pop.’ Like removing a snug tuperware top from its greased body. Then agony. I had pivoted quickly on the edge of our small concrete court in an attempt to save the ball from careening out of bounds. My ligaments snapped, sending my right kneecap flying. There was a taught, flattish void where my knee belonged. My kneecap was hanging on by a thread five inches out of place, closer to the back of my leg than the front of it. The fire department was just around the corner, so a truck arrived quickly. Firemen bruskly lifted me onto a stretcher, nonplussed by my terror. My mom reached out to put her hand on my severed tendon—I growled that she needed to step back. The lead fireman, a graying old-timer in his 50s, stopped dead. He grabbed me by the neck and said that he would beat my ass if I talked to my mother like that again. It was another hour before my knee was back in place. *** The cartilage in my knee had been mutilated, so I needed surgery; Dr. Salutpis obliged. He was an affable man with a benign fetish for the underside of preteen kneecaps. In the wake of the surgery my knee swelled to four times its normal size—Salutpis drained three gargantuan syringes of my blood, which I can only assume he later drank in celebration. I wheeled around the empty house in a Herman Miller office chair, unable to walk. High on vicodin, I watched every game of the world cup in Johannesburg and blew my vuvuzela to my heart’s content. When I regained semi-consciousness, I read about which vegetables to eat when you were starving yourself and fantasized about getting the kitchen knives sharpened.