Featured Poet

Jeff Mann

( Blacksburg, Virginia )


Russian Samovar

Oral fixation and fetish—that about sums
this aesthetic up. We feast on seafood blinchinki
and fois gras, on lamb shanks with kasha, on

beef Stroganoff, we sip martinis and marriage,
we do not snarlingly consume the waiter, tall, with
aquiline nose and buzz cut. His waist and hips

are lean, his butt small and flat, his shoulders
broad. His carven chest precedes him. Stern
Cossack look, long stride, formality of white

shirt, black tie, black pants. He serves us
tea with lemon and cherry preserves,
the frustrating metaphor of honey cake.

The poem pans for gold, elusive virile
flecks amid the daily grit. The poem unhinges
its jaw to swallow, beyond the is, the ought-

to-be, the hypothetically ecstatic.
What body hair there might be, how much
he’d cost, what grunts he’d make against

a duct-tape gag, how sweet cherry preserves
would be eaten off his ass. See how weak,
the mundane’s grip, how bearlike vocabulary

slips its leash and falls slavering into
pornography? His form’s a thousand
fishhooks, my corneas caught. A brief

cloud burst, the unfurling of half-dead
resurrection ferns. “Undrape!” is my shout
suppressed. Through shirt fabric translucent

in back-light, his wife-beater comes clear.
Our plates are empty now, save for a gnawed
bone, a few tongue-scoured cherry pits.

Next - Gerhardt Thompson