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Contributor: John Grey

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Instead of a kiss goodnight,
a boy nervously handed her a slip of paper,
then turned on his heels
and never looked back
as he walked all the way home.

It was a poem
that she read apprehensively
by bedside lamp,
over and over.

Was this really the boy who
took me out to Taco Bell
and then a Spiderman movie,
she wondered.
And does he really see me
as the lovely unassailable goddess
of his flowery language,
his pitiable self-immolating voice.
She did settle on one conclusion though.
She was in love with him.

All the next day,
she kept recalling the awkward fumbling boy,
tried to reconcile him with
the unabashed romantic of the verse.
Chicken burritos and skin like silk.
Super-villains and lips like rose petals.
There was a connection.
She couldn't quite grasp it.

But now she's with some other guy.
He doesn't hesitate when it comes to getting physical.
His tongue gets into her mouth like an implant.
His hands are just on the tender side of rough
as they unbutton her dress.

But there are no extravagant speeches to embellish the heavy petting,
no indication that libido once launched could ever pass for romance.
She once lost her heart to words on a page.
Now she must make do with a different kind of groping.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.


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