By Judy Rowe Michaels

Featured Image: A Basket of Clams by Winslow Homer, 1873

And is that everything
since you? Since meaning
                      Here melancholy’s
interrupted by brief flirt
with dictionary: originally
postumas, no hint
of burial in living earth.

Dicking around again with
missing you, post this and that—
coital, colonial, menopausal,
Mesozoic, coitus interruptus . . .
Nowadays sex is catch-all for
almost anything, god, war,
cupcakes, abs and apps, the boat
is listing.
                Poet Gilbert, Jack, said
“the erotic matters not as pleasure
but a way to get to something
darker.” He’s restless
when people laugh a lot,
he prefers Greek fishermen,
who “do not play on the beach.”
Is it so wrong to heft
an inflatable ball, twirl it
on a finger, think circus seals?

Wasn’t sex mostly three-ring
circus—three or more, given
the presence of memory, fantasy,
irony, flattery, usury, syzygy—
that’s sun, moon, earth aligned,
and then there’s the all-but-impossible
synergy, two becoming a
greater third,
                       yes, Nowadays
is everything since that.

Judy Rowe Michaels is a poet in the schools for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and recently retired English teacher. Michaels has two books of poems, Reviewing the Skull (2010, Word Tech Editions) and The Forest of Wild Hands (2001, University Press of Florida). A chapbook, Ghost Notes, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Michaels has been a MacDowell Fellow and has received two poetry fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. An ovarian cancer patient, she speaks to New York City medical students via the national program, Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives.

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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