Chris Joyner




Long before I’d ever played
the strip-club-sleaze-role,
let alone glimpsed a female
nipple, I puzzled at what secrets
these circles held, traced lingerie
models from the JC Penny catalog,
penciling in imaginary nipples: each
symmetrical and perfectly centered,
pried out like pearls
in the clams of their bras.

When Momma found the sketchpad,
I knew what Adam felt, cowering
naked in shrubs, suddenly
on the other end of a chasm,
never to return. With time,
curiosity bore lust, nipples became
a mad hunger, a Braille I longed to read
with lips and tongue, conduits
projecting nude truth. Breastfed
by lovers who apple away
at dawn, I sometimes think of infants
who root by instinct, crawling
blind through a dark loam
toward heat, rib-born
and Biblical, as their eyes milk over
with what they’ve yet to imagine.
CHRIS JOYNER is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Miami, but his heart resides in Virginia. He won honorable mention in Winning Writers’ 2012 Sports Poetry and Prose Contest. In 2011 he was recipient of the Alfred Boas Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in Penduline Press, Brusque, Fiddleblack, the Barely South Review, and elsewhere.

Read more by Chris Joyner:

Three poems at Penduline
Poem at Winning Writers
Three poems at BRUSQUE