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Laura Kiesel

Conversation with My Pen

I can no longer do with your sullen silence, a propped up phallus with no target, the monument pointing to the void of an empty page, occasionally leaking your ink prematurely, spoiling what could be a poem.

I would like you to reclaim your throne, thrill you to again take me by the hand. What you made was always so much lovelier: a graceful dance of arabesques, an origami of words taking the shapes of songbirds and sailboats. You gave my words curves, curling them into ringlets until they charmed like a dozen tap dancing Shirley Temples.

A poem written by a pen is one smoking a cigarette, drinking a martini. A poem written by a pen is one wearing a short skirt while crossing and uncrossing its legs. It is all cleavage and no concealment, while the laptop poem is a pin-stripe pantsuit, black coffee, black tie affair. It's all formal with no frills or fragility, whereas the handwritten poem twists and writhes and sinks its jagged edges into x's and scribbles.

With the keyboard poem, any error is erased by the backspace button, showing no traces of the traveled road, all crumbs left along the way eaten eagerly by a machine until all that's left is the perfect poem.

Because you see, the laptop is like the vibrator you buy to keep up with the quickness of your needs, whereas the pen is the hand you used before technology intervened. You know which way is faster, but also which way bends best with your body, giving you the long and satisfying moan instead of just a quick gasp and spasm.

Clam Poem

Love, the heart is a clam that can make pearls out of sand.

You itched me, inched deep into the soft pink flesh of my heart.
At each turn, I sweated and coated you, until you built to my resistance.

Marble-smooth and perfect, you were there nestled deep inside, where it was warm,
Not feeling the effects of saltwater that stung my shell with its intentions.
Flare-ups in my eyes and lips, only so many leaks could I spring before
Breathing became difficult, until I drowned…

I tried to spit you out.
But further you burrowed, until a hole formed under my tongue where the major vein lives.
Until an indent swelled in the raw pit of my pelvis.

You hibernated there, caught up in the canyon of my impervious shell, shocked into submission.
Further subdued under skin you mistook for satin sheets, you were pristine,
Baptized by the holy water of my saliva.

I let you live and made you a jewel, a virgin gem.
I shut myself around you, a closed fist, frightened by outsiders and ready to fight for your
Defense, eager to keep my treasure.

A beast with the beauty inside, I ingested you. Not fully, though:
I kept you there on back of my tongue.
Testing your taste, letting you linger.

You outlived me.
Smaller but brighter, you went on to better hands and harder flesh.
You see the sun now while I am to be another's meal.

Love, the heart is like a clam
That snaps shut at intrusion.

Laura Kiesel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and has a B.A. in English and creative writing from SUNY New Paltz. She has had poems, articles, and essays featured in numerous publications including upstreet, Naugatuck River Review, Gin Bender, Earth Island Journal, Mother Jones, E Magazine and Z Magazine. She currently resides in the Boston area and works as a freelance writer and editor.