Penis for Sharon Olds






There’s nothing wrong with the Pope’s penis

or the Pope himself, both are overrated carbon matters

made important by his Catholic aura. If thought biochemically,

it’s not much different from the vagina of the nuns, who

you, nonetheless, never question, assuming they’re women,

that they indeed are, subordinate to the delicate clapper

at the centre of a bell. It is a soundless bell, because it’s not

gilt in gold, but made of flesh and skin, where we hoard

our desire and guilt. But we don’t speak the name of these things,

so the bell is silent when the Pope walks. When the Pope walks,

you should be happy that he can still walk, by himself. But your

ears shut, hands folded, saying rosary, so that you won’t hear

the ghostly fish swishing in a halo of silver seaweed, but

your own voice, a caterpillar climbing up a pillar to cater

for the interest of spring; arriving, arrived, birth is derived.

Next year, you’ll be 69. Think of the sexual connotation

of the number, of how you were made in 1942. When your

father shut his eyes, his penis stood up, perhaps unlike

the Pope’s, which does it in praise of God. But his swelled,

maximizing its girth against the walls of your mother’s

sacred and scared passage. He’s drunk in the possibilities

of darkness, his penis anointed, shaping the harrowing

notion of daughter, who later sees him in hollow light,

not knowing her lips, hair and words carry the genes

of the old man’s semen, smelling of spite.

Nicholas YB Wong is the author of Cities of Sameness (Desperanto, 2012). His poetry is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The Journal, Nano Fiction, Quiddity and REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters. He serves as a poetry reader for Drunken Boat.