Empathic Poem

The dildo is a laughing matter

until Kathleen Turner, clad in chintz,

regards the torpedo’s pronged tip

and you quip that you lose it

for men who can drive stick.

My face is not a crag’s edge;

I am daily confounded

by locks, light fixtures, and stink bugs’

displays of crypsis in an apartment

I labored to endow with a tarot-reading

gemologist’s sense of which color combinations

would offend the sensibilities of his

most loyal clients, who trek annually

from Scottsdale to his stall at the Tucson Gem Show

and just relish patronizing a funky go-getter’s

ethically sourced enterprise; and, after all,

I am, in your words, a “literary gay” whose

concupiscent entreaties you just relish diverting

into handsy movie dates like a randy but

business-minded border collie. In this movie,

the hottest man is Anthony Perkins’s poppers-

addicted paranoid schizophrenic street preacher,

but you gasp when the vacuous everyman

doffs his shirt and bemoans his marriage

to a mousy housewife I say I relate to.

Your apartment boasts a potpourri of

houseplants not because you are a millennial gay

but because you grew up Mormon on a farm

and are dating a forester on call in Montana.

Neither the number of etiolated leaves

nor your very fine e-portfolio interests me

in your future as a landscape painter.

 

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Paul Bisagni (he/him/his) is a lapsed classicist, one-time applied linguist, and current MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Idaho. His poems can be found in Dream Pop Journal, Terse Journal, Tilted House Review, and Afternoon Visitor and are forthcoming in Guesthouse, Ethel Zine, Heavy Feather Review, and TIMBER. Alternative versions of him float around Instagram and Twitter @sapphojane.