The Humorous Verse Prize
In Which Our Heroine Intends to Write Her Paramour a Letter, Searches for Appropriate Love-Poems to Enclose, and Becomes Irritated by Gender Dynamics
Re-reading Keats, I wonder yet again
why womenpoets rarely hymn their men
in bodied detail, with a hungry gaze
considerate of what’s below the face.
The ladies must have muses; do they check
their impulse of desire at the neck?
And even then, it’s relatively rare
they write in praise of smile or eyes or hair.
Don’t tell me that it’s natural to evade
the chance to savor any lover’s frame
with tenderness––e’en if you must first pen
the gendered ribbing of the cage you’re in––
I sit awhile. Then turn a new page over
and stroke in ink the broad swell of your shoulders.