"Playboy's Guide to Lingering"
We read lingerie as lingering.
An innocent mistake, yes, though
we didn't dally in Patel's humid
newsstand amid hanks of cigared
tobacco and men in coveralls logger-
heading with the Pennsylvania Lotto
to expand our budding tongues
but to confuse the single shelf
of cryptograms and crosswords
with the candied shelves of pornos.
Despite our lousy decoding, we
proved adept disrobers, kid-minds
keen to peel what we'd later call satin
from skin like we peeled bright, waxy
clementines slipped in our stockings,
our reward for a year of skirting Satan.
Nonchalant as bubble gum, we thumbed
them cover to cover, lingered, elbowed
one another while we dittoed each
sweet image deep in memory's folds:
love's coy postures, saddle-stapled.
And that is how we imagined
it would be for us on those winter
afternoons: flimsy resistance, a finger's
steady pressure, the split of soft fruit.
We'd puzzle over language later.
For now, we had more important
things on our hands to misread.
Joseph J. Capista's poems are forthcoming in the North American Review and Literary Imagination. He teaches writing at Towson University.
For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPoetry SubmissionsSlate reads new poems from Oct. 1 to April 30. Manuscripts sent between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be considered.To submit poems: Send, as a single attached document, up to three poems of no more than 50 lines each to email@example.com. Use the poet's name for the subject line of the e-mail and for the title of the attachment. We prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx) to PDFs.Please include a brief, professional cover letter, including publication history, in the body of your email. Please limit submissions to one per poet per annual reading period. Simultaneous submissions are OK. Slate no longer accepts poetry submissions by mail. The email address firstname.lastname@example.org is for poetry submissions only (or to notify editors of acceptance elsewhere of a poem under consideration at Slate). Other inquiries, etc., will not be addressed.10000false220061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM63271989937000000020061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM632719899370000000.Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.Click here for an archive of discussions about poems with Robert Pinsky in "the Fray," Slate's reader forum.