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Dick pics

Two dicks, sitting in
my daughter’s inbox.
Like men without hats,
waiting for any door
to open. 

Sighting a stranger’s penis
used to be rare. Remember raincoats?
Like a flash of lightning,
like a scratch and win ticket –
sometimes glittering knock-off watches,
sometimes a sole flapping penis
shivering in the electric air.

An overcooked hotdog?
An aborted fetus?
A close-up of a thumb?
Rolled baloney on a lonely deli plate?

We have whole monologues
for vaginas. But I can only imagine
a penis as silent,
which isn’t the same
as listening.

The lighting is never
good. Harsh, taken in haste,
no one ever drapes
a dick in folds of linen,
the head never looks
back, one pearl earring
shining in stilled patience.

On every tunnel,
school yard, crumbling brick wall,
a graffitied cock, standing on balls
pointing to the night sky,
like a fallen constellation.

Women were for portraits, nudes
lounging, stuffed into frames,
luminous and arch. They were heads
and breasts, and feet, and buttocks
(though never speech). You must pay
and cross a velvet rope to see them.
The penis stood alone, in filthy
bars, and bathrooms, in wooded
parks, in the shadowed alleys
whistling a moon-white tune.

Now every penis is everywhere.
Like posters for a one-act play,
plastered on every telephone pole,
bench, building, on every mailbox,
on your kitchen chair,
so that you have to push through piles of them,
great snowdrifts of penises,
just to reach across the room
and tuck a stray hair
back into your daughter’s braid.
Sarah Tsiang

(issue 40, shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem)