Cecelia Hagen

Thinking of the Bayeux Tapestry’s Ninety-Three Penises

Holy the firm, they say.
Tell that to the horse, the man
lying on his back, cock high
over his bloody thigh. The
brute of war engorges man
and beast, the clash of iron
on steel makes loud
even the less-endowed organ.
Each proud knob
arose from tiny pricks
needled into seventy meters of linen
by nuns who held
pierced and slender bones
in their hands and said nothing
that remains for us to hear.

Shoe Tying

One morning during our era of grudge-holding
you sat down on the edge
of your side of the bed
and bent to tie your shoes.

As usual, you tightened the laces
where they lay across the tongue
with a series of tugs
before wrapping the two strings
into a knot that you doubled
with a final tug.

                         From where I lay
on my side of the mattress, each yank
caused a jerk, a shake.
I thought about your pale feet
encased in your shoes all day.

Then another thought surprised me
because of the ache
that accompanied it–
that one day someone else
would be feeling the force
of your shoe-tying.

And I was struck by the pleasure
of this era we were in, our intimacies
silent and shared mainly
through mere nearness,
though nearness is, after all,
a form of endearment.

CECELIA HAGEN is the author of Entering (Airlie Press), Among Others (Traprock Books), and Fringe Living (26 Books Press). She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Literary Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Playa, and Soapstone. Her work has appeared in New Ohio Review, Guesthouse, Broadsided, On the Seawall, High Desert Journal, Zyzzyva, and EcoTheo. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she tangos, teaches writing, and volunteers as a community recycling coordinator.

Read more by Cecelia Hagen

Author’s Website
Poem in New Ohio Review
Poem in Broadsided Press
Poem in Guesthouse