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Pamela Hughes


The white napkins from the Starbucks

at the Barnes and Noble

are wrinkled and written over.

I stretch them out before me

like two treasure maps.

Nothing had to be wrung or rent.

Wonder is no longer yonder.

The wash of words have me in their grip.

It’s firm but procreative,

I postulate poems—

they don’t prostrate me.

The lines are loose or tight,

depending on their position.

As a poet I’m not a prostitute—

not enough Americans want to pay

for a verb job.

The discharge of words

is a release of sexual energy,

though coming is not the end to going.

I realized this tonight

while reading Rilke at the bookstore.

Consummation is about generation.

Suddenly there is too much to write about

—a commotion of creation

waiting to be collected.

I try to contain it on the computer

when I get home.

My husband offers me a Polish pickle—

a literal pickle not a penis—

even though his penis is also Polish.

I put the pickle on the love poem.

Now the napkin holds two kinds of food.

Pamela Hughes

Pamela Hughes’s second collection of poems, Femistry, is forthcoming. Her first collection Meadowland Take My Hand was published in 2017 by Three Mile Harbor Press. Her poetry and prose have appeared: Prairie Schooner; Canary; Literary Mama; PANK Magazine; The Paterson Literary Review; Thema, and elsewhere.

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