an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22

 

Gerry LaFemina

IN SPRING A YOUNG MAN’S FANCY TURNS

The green slope flecked with yellow

dandelion, how picturesque it looks, the way

those weeds almost collect spring light.

Remember, you gathered a bouquet of them

in your first-grade fist,

a gift for that freckled classmate whose name

you’ve surrendered, but not

how she kept them in a plastic cup water-filled

at her desk. After lessons

she rubbed the face of one under your chin

to see how rich you’d be.

How lemony did your skin become? You couldn’t see,

but when her fingers

brushed against your cheek, you blushed

That flower-sized blemish

remained ‘til bed time, a misshapen kiss,

a pale hickey. The riches

promised, the treasure—how you imagined

in that small room you shared

with your brother, gold coins overflowing

the pockets of not-hand-me-downs,

because then you didn’t know the difference

between fortune & good fortune

or between the sounds your neighbor made,

muffled moans from the other side of the wall:

who’s to say, the wails of orgasm or of despair.

 

Gerry LaFemina is the author of numerous books, most recently Babystep in Doomsday Prepping (2020 Madvill Publishing). He teaches at Frostburg State University and in the Carlow University MFA program and plays in the punk quartet The Downstrokes. Their latest album is Unsafe at Any Speed (Coffin Curse 2021).