This week, a poem from Jeff Mann.


is sipping beer in Delft’s town square.
Two tables over, lovers on vacation,
we study the cathedral’s facade, try

to read the menu, try not to stare.
He’s in his mid-twenties: close-cropped goatee,
bulging biceps, honey-blond hair.

Against his shirtfront glitters a golden necklace.
When next he strips and slips into a shower,
oh, to be links in that chain that we might touch

that chest. Now we’re discussing three-ways
and slipknots, converting guilders’ rent into dollars,
till the food arrives and we’re filling our mouths

with poffertjes, little Dutch pancakes heaped
with cherries, gobs of butter, powdered sugar,
whipped cream. Finally, to our relief, he stands,

flexes inside a skin-tight T-shirt his torso’s
theophany, takes one last swig of beer, and leaves.
On the hungry way home, we buy from a street-stand

frites met mayo, we stop at a shop to pick up dinner:
pepper paté, cumin-stippled Gouda, oil-cured olives,
marinated artichokes, sun-dried-tomato tapanade.


JEFF MANN‘s books include three collections of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine, On the Tongue, and Ash: Poems from Norse Mythology; two books of personal essays, Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear and Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South; a novella, Devoured; a collection of poetry and memoir, Loving Mountains, Loving Men; and a volume of short fiction, A History of Barbed Wire, winner of a Lambda Literary Award. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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