Spitting Distance

Leopard skin dangling
there she leans salivating

braced by the wall bending her over
just beyond reach what she likes most

a fantasy to focus her if she still hopes
to get through it soon no faking this one

rubbing her cheeks pretending to chew
thinking of lemons thinking of you

you try to think too whatever it takes
to get a gland going with good eastern view

from garage level three while you both lubricate
cc quintuplets not counting bubbles

sufficient secretion drooled in a tube
takes more than you think

think what you like think of the folks
working the screening today below freezing

how many times they ask is your cap
twisted on tight show me the level

there’s the hand sanitizer think of the techs
testing the samples in labs overnight

thousands of tubes think of the spit
she’s swapped in her time

though now that she’s looped
her mask back in place

never with you
whose mouth she helped water

Stephen Cushman

Stephen Cushman

Stephen Cushman is Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today (University of North Carolina Press, 2021). Author of several volumes of verse, he is general editor of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012). Cushman has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Greece, and Rogers Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library.LSU Press will publish his next book of poems, Keep the Feast, in 2022.
Stephen Cushman

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Author: Stephen Cushman

Stephen Cushman is Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today (University of North Carolina Press, 2021). Author of several volumes of verse, he is general editor of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012). Cushman has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Greece, and Rogers Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library. LSU Press will publish his next book of poems, Keep the Feast, in 2022.