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The Humorous Verse Prize

Talley Kayser
Charleston, SC

In Which: List

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.

In Which: Text
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