Parany

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September 2, 2009 by The Citron Review

Lauren Schmidt

Birdlime because the DO NOT TOUCH
directive taped to the neck of the headless
mannequin was not enough to keep the neighborhood
of boy-fingers from fondling her mannequin breasts.

Parany is illegal in most countries, but so is public nudity
even if only long enough for a wardrobe change
which is just long enough for a twelve-year-old boy
to conjure the dare for his friend, the friend who accepted,
at age five, the dare to put a fistful of worms in his mouth.
But such is not a twelve-year-old dare because by twelve,
boys have discovered breasts and by god, why shouldn’t they

have discovered breasts? Breasts on the covers of magazines, breasts
at the Super Bowl. Tank tops wearing breasts, beer cans frothing
breasts. Sports cars driving breasts. Yes, these boys sense
the world is abuzz with breasts, breasts,

breasts! And what for? So women can scorn these will-be-men-someday boys
who can’t do much to ignore this glandular bait. So men
buy magazines with no words but pictures, get cruel looks
when it’s cold outside and the breasts can’t help but announce it. So women
have something to hold over men, literally and figuratively both, so men
don’t know what to do but open their mouths like birds awaiting
their captors, molting with frenzy, snagged on a sticky twig.

Lauren Schmidt’s work may be found or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and others. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2009 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Originally a New Jersey native, Lauren lives and teaches high school English and Art History in Eugene, Oregon.

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