If I wasn’t a hermetic fossil hunkered down
in a clam shell, I’d rub my face raw on his badge
of beards, tickle my skin pink on his prickled plane.
If I wasn’t a private vibration, I’d puzzle
out the patterns. If I was an unreserved noose I’d circle
in a coarse crevice, meet a scratchy nuzzle.
I’d time travel to prolong my scour, devise a detour
to detain the morning. Why, I’d tie myself up
in the whiskered bondage of his dusky virility. I’d play
damsel to adorable brutality. If I wasn’t me, sulky keeper
of quietude, goddess of grumbles, solitaire player
in practical pajamas, I’d paw him insatiably. I’d live
under the shadow on his chin. If I wasn’t telling to pleasure
she’d never have settled with pain. O! Sick-puppy.
If I was purring lips pressed against his. If I was
only chafed cheeks sweeping backwards over a bumpy,
bristled, capped kisser. If I wasn’t only imagine,
imagine the saturnine shag of his Brillo-padded jaw.
Madeline Vardell is a Graduate Assistant at Cleveland State University. She is currently finishing her M.A. in English and plans to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in the future. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal and Audio Zine. Sometimes she teaches freshman composition; almost always she waits tables. She lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.