Letter to My Penis

by Roy Mash

Dear Marcel,

Yesterday you were with me all day,
like a second head.
(You were the one with the beret.)

We strolled along the Seine, a couple
of cosmopolitans,
so Left Bankish, so très très chic.

We sat in the outdoor café with the blue
striped awnings.
An accordion came out of nowhere.

You crooned,
“Every little breeze seems to whisper chemise,”
and my blood purred.

I sipped espresso from a demitasse.
You buoyed your
cigarette holder with such savoir-faire,

such joie de vivre, I felt like taking you
by the shoulders
and giving you a peck on each cheek.

Who am I kidding? You know
we never did
any of that. Shameless, we got

sloshed on a bench in the Tenderloin,
savoring the butts
we’d scraped from the street.

Black bags hung from our
shopping cart.
Joggers adjusted their gaits.

We split a ketchup sandwich.
You peed in the alley.
I put on a dog collar and barked

at the pigeons
and watched them run. Such
was our fun.

My fickle paddle,
I tell you now:
You have rowed me in circles

long enough. Long enough,
Mr. Mopey Pinocchio,
have you sat in my lap, vacillating:

now the puppet, the master;
now the tortured
artist, moody, brooding;

now the traffic sentinel,
officious on your podium with your pith helmet
and whistle and white gloves.

Coward that I am, I write
because I cannot say these things
to your face.

I know: The penis, like the heart,
has its reasons. And so,
we may come to an understanding yet.

Mon frère, let’s meet
tomorrow by the Arc de Triomphe.
I’ll bring a box lunch.

We’ll talk.

Roy Mash is an electronics technician living in Marin County, California. His poetry has appeared in AGNI Online, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, The Evansville Review, Nimrod, Poetry East, and River Styx, among others.