Winter 1998 • Vol. XX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1998 |

Dime Store Erotics

The dim gift store shimmers with candy bars and cheap key chains swinging. The night bus checks out at nine; you can still climb on board if you abandon the books to their wire rack. You flip through fifteen choices looking for the perfect fit of story and your own slow time. It's only fiction, but the trembling muscles of the hero on one cover cry out restraint as he presses the heroine away from his bare chest, as if to put off that first contact, delay being the purest pleasure. For $5.95 and a bag of potato chips you can ride to Memphis in a sexual haze. Your fellow travelers may smell like the linseed oil on the factory floor; they may jam with headphones plastered tight, bass humping through the plastic casing. A contraband kitten runs loose in the aisle. A woman in a feather boa slides past on her way to a bathroom smoke. Soon the passing of joints from seat to seat, soon the idle murmur of lives exchanged. You may miss it all, even the rendezvous in the aisle, when the picku

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Ann Townsend is the author of Dime Store Erotics and The Coronary Garden (poems) and editor of Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (with David Baker). She directs the creative writing program at Denison University and is a founding member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

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In a Moment

By Ann Townsend

The dim gift store shimmers with candy bars and cheap key chains swinging. The night bus checks out at nine; you can still climb on board if you abandon the […]

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