after Sharon Olds’s Ode to the Penis
A ball sack is a pair of lips
that have fused together in the womb
—kiss of protection
a basket star, a tongue rolling two
pearls round gleam in wet
I want to be inside you
not from front of back or
phallus, from center
not my dusty old heart,
my heart could care less
about men, less about pearls, less
about cock & balls
less about how unpretty the word
penis is until it sees itself
capitalized & in print.
O’ prostate! Unenchanted ego, forgotten deity,
the unnamed hero of Greek tragedy.
No statues were erected in your honor,
none felled in fear
O’ beetle of the body, ignobly hidden
save for unashamed probe, dick or finger that
dares to greet you.
Organism of arousal! Needy aching wretch.
Palm open beggar wearing invisibility.
Bringer of nacreous cum, sheen of joviality
layer of sticky sap that stays all day, post-
coital postcard. Center of body, column,
tympanum, temple, offertory. Buttress!
Oyster of anxiety, heartquake clam, fearful of particulates.
Cracked shell, painful tidal resurgence.
Daily prayer exacts the ferry.
The toll for ecstasy
paid in pearls.