Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
Yet he never saw an object he didn’t take
for a male member—member of the club,
impeccably tuxedoed gentleman standing
erect at the front gate. We have so many names
for genitalia, which seem to lead an independent
life all their own. The fork, the cork, blind alley,
cyclops. Bagpipe, whim-wham, gravy boat.
Whether bum or tits, tushy, or wee-wee, knowing
and nasty or euphemistic, they reveal how people
feel about their bodies. Think of the many names
we give a much-loved pet or child, even a deity.
It’s love that fuels this, sometimes fear
that multiplies the epithets. No one name
can capture the power of the parts we’re naming,
an awesome generative force, yet at the same time,
vaguely ridiculous. Consider the vulva, that frilly pink
party hat—part of us, yet, somehow, larger than ourselves.
is the author of four books of poetry, including an ekphrastic chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and three collections: Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014). She has edited three anthologies; the latest is The Plague Papers, available online at Poemeleon Journal. Her poems, reviews, essays, and articles have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Aeolian Harp VI, Book of Matches, Cultural Daily, Gargoyle, Live Encounters, Muddy River Review, North of Oxford, Rhino, Tampa Review, Tiferet, Verdad, and Verse-Virtual.
Author’s website: www.robbinester.net
After Blossom, ekphrastic poem after an etching
by Phil Greenwood in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 3, May 2020)
Three Poems by Robbi Nester in Verse-Virtual (January
of Attraction, ekphrastic poem after Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the
Rhone, in Verse-Virtual (May 2019)
Night Tunnel, ekphrastic poem after a painting by Robert Rhodes,
Philadelphia Night Train, in The Ekphrastic Review (21 April 2016)
The Locusts, ekphrastic poem after a collage of the same name
by Mary Boxley Bullington, in The Ekphrastic Review (13 October 2015)