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Robert S. Pesich

Sympathy for the Penis


I heard she chopped off his penis.
Drove away with it.
That she forgot about the deflated member
until the intersection
where she paused,
then whipped it out the window
to the broken shoulder of the road.

I imagine she boomed up the radio:
Shostakovich symphony no. 7 Leningrad,
thunder of drums, oboes, tubas.
Floored the gas, gave up all her dust,
left the penis behind
to decide for itself
which road to take
for a new life.

You know this story.
You know officers arrived,
provided borders for the scene
as if this would contain the language.
They circled the evidence,
Corpus delicti: knife,
moisture and feathers,
penis, pointing to the river.

2. Raccoon

She came when the crickets resumed.
She had never seen such a thing along the road.
Humid smell of fish,
soft like a sponge,
no spicules. She took it.
Rubbed it in the cold
mineral grip of the river
to clean off the motor oil
and scent of bourbon in the blood,
but the ball-stud
was firmly fixed to the foreskin.
She licked the tip as a taste test.

There are many strange things,
a penis is no exception.
It was still alive,


Corpus cavernosa
flooding with water.
In this surprise quickening,
it escaped.

3. Owl

Bobbing in the river
it appeared to have a gill fold
and a small mouth.
Or maybe a drowning mouse?
Bleeding, anyway.

You went down on it,
gripped the body and flew.
Corpus spongiosum ballooned with air,
sinuses filling with barbules of feathers.
It whistled in the tight embrace of your talons,
revealing your silent path through the night.

You dropped it back to earth.
Crow might take it tomorrow.

4. Coyote

I recognized it immediately.

A suspicious situation.
I wanted to avoid trouble.
You understand.
But I provided some medicine-power anyway:
a quick lick,
a spray of urine,
a brief salsa.


Surgeons sterilized the exposed tissues,
performed microsurgery
articulating member to stump.
Successful, minus the numbness
and potential for graft-vs-host disease.

They failed to notice the saliva,
river water and wing barbules
compacted deep in the sinuses.

Now, the man is listed under missing persons.
His suit, hard leather shoes, and briefcase
left in Barstow.
His stint as a porn stud only paid the rent.
Last seen in Needles drinking with a hooker
who was originally a man
before her sex-change operation.

His truck was found abandoned on the edge
of an arroyo
in New Mexico.

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