S. Whitney Holmes

In Contemplation of this Body

these tiny breasts, this curve,

this coil of dark hair.

My boyfriend draws a finger

down my side, and sighs.

Buttons, he says. Buttons, pressing

his index finger into my nipple

and letting go, watching it recover,

resilient and automatic.

(I’m thinking about my friend Morgan—and when she
publishes it, pretend I never gave it away—
who is writing a book of insignificant super powers,
one being the ability to regenerate
your nipples in the unlikely event they are ever cut off.
It could be useful if we found a way to send them flying
through the air, erect, two ninja stars.)

Nothing, he says. Nothing

happens. Your buttons are broken.

(I’m thinking about Anne Boleyn,
her failure to produce—
like a faulty machine—
a boy. But what’s so
important about a boy?)

I press his nipples, smaller, darker

buttons. Nothing, I tell him back.

Silly girl, he says, mine
are just nipples; yours are the buttons

(I can’t stop thinking how much

depended on her body,
its failure her execution.
I want my response
to be with this body.
I don’t know what it has
to do with being
a girl, exactly, but there’s
something there. If only
she could have regenerated
a head.)

I want this to be a love poem.

His finger pressing, softly,

nothing, nothing, nothing.

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  • Donna Meredith

    I love this poem for its eroticism and at the same time, its feminist ruminations.