an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century
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).