- Poetry & Prose
My father said that growing up,
He would watch videos;
His friends would show him videos
Of wet women, sad women
Played with by men:
Shiny women with no hair,
Oiled women who lived on their knees,
Greatly pleasing, condemned to please,
On well-lit screens, young
and without smell.
I know no such women.
I don’t think those videos
Would please me:
For what woman has no hair?
And what woman has no smell?
I, a man, have smells;
Hot smells at running,
Sharp smells in the morning.
Discreet, quiet smells
During the day.
I love these smells;
They prove to me -
As does the hair on my arms,
On my chin, on my back,
Wispy even on my hands –
It all proves to me that I thrive.
That is, there was an old tree,
A sycamore, in our back yard growing up.
My father would point it out to me and say,
“You see how there’s no leaves?
When nothing grows, and spurts, it’s dead.”
I ask again, what woman has no hair?
I look in the mirror and take in with relish
The skin of my belly, the blue veins
Running in my wrists, taking good blood
From the whites of my fingernails
To the heart between my eyebrows.
It is all excellent; the damp mouthfeel
In the morning, and the must
Of unwashed hair. In the mirror,
I am a sequoia.
And when I am with the woman I love,
I trace the down fuzz, the sparse bumps
On her back. I smell the heady wax
Of her hair, and I touch the single
Chickenpox ever-so-small crater
On her forehead. She is not mine;
As I am not hers; but I know her smells,
And she is familiar with my life,
And it is so good when
The wind blows our branches together.