corey mesler

For A

I cannot help it
if it’s sexual.
I am clothed in
skin, sensitive as a
flower with
its secret attractants.
I want to talk to
you the way the
ancients talked,
with nothing be-
neath their tunics
but the lyrics
to the old songs.
Instead I say:
your hair.
Instead I say:
your cuppy breasts.
Instead I say:
your slim waist.
I cannot help it.
I was born into
this pollution, this
heavy skin, this
loam so rich with life.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies, as well as eight novels, three full length poetry collections, and three books of short stories. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, TN, and can be found at

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