Male Nipples

by Brenda Hillman

Brenda HillmanMen

— not utter, not
useless, the uselessness of desire, the slight
depression around the center

— When the motorcycle boy would light
His cigarette, I longed
For the flat nipples, the scars, the contralto ‘when’

and after you saw that the flower
of hell is not hell,
but a flower —

How the beautiful boys’ nipples in the pool
In Arizona looked
“underwatery” — pennies which have been thrown in

— and after you saw
that the flower of hell
was not one bit hell, but a flower —

convince him to take only
his shirt off. They were, well, one
was brown and one was like the inside of a story —

— the ones of divers,
how they point down under the wetsuits:

when I first put
my tongue on his (having decided
he is not my mother) —

Oh, the bodies I loved were very tired.
I liked their skin. And
I was no sad animal no graveyard —

And after you saw that desire
is hell, that the flower of hell
is not hell but a flower, well,

— So I told the little hairs
around his nipple: lie flat! and they did,
like a campfire, without the stories —

those of soldiers in the desert war and often
his left one tastes metallic as in
childhood, when I licked my brother’s BB gun

Kept not finishing
people I loved.
I tried, — but.

The top lip of a Corona beer
is about the size
of one of his —

And after you saw that the flower
of hell is desire, the almost, well,
you still had desire —

— So the moon came up
pink tonight
like one of what had been missed

Loose Sugar

Last updated December 17, 2022