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Plain Cotton Panties

by Adam Houle

for LLM

An old joke. That she’ll break out
the frayed ones.  The unlovely ones
that sag in the seat.  After the surge
everyone agrees the heart simmers;
you can say tata to sequins and lace.
The shy dance she danced, backlit
by the bathroom’s bulb, breasts
ensconced in an eye-and-hook number
you’ll lumber to undo, each eyelet
staring back, kiss that goodbye too.
That’s the joke of how love wanes.
I say, Watch me. I’ll take all the pairs
in equal measure. Give me bedhair
and morning breath. Dental floss
flung over the faucet. I want it all.
The danger’s to forget it matters
whose curves they ride snug or loose
against. The small of her back above
whatever waistline, unadorned 
as new snow, that’s all the glitter
I want. To ease an ice chip across
the smooth swerve of her shoulders,
down her back, the cello of her hips.
As for you, panties of any cloth,
cut, or color, take off. The hamper,
the floor. It’s all the same to us. 
We don’t need you anymore.


Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Adam Houle currently studies at Texas Tech University. Other poems are forthcoming in MARGIE, Linebreak, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. He also reads for Iron Horse and Emprise Review. (9/2009)

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