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Escaped Housewife Sprouts a Dick

She awakes to find a circus
in her bed, her sheets
stretching into a big top,
something like an elephant
high-stepping beneath.
When she pulls back the covers,
there it is, winking at her
with a single innocent eye.

Before anything else,
before coffee or the news,
she measures it, base
to tip. She plants
the ruler's end deep
into her pink scrotum,
is generous when she marks
the inches with her thumb.

She calls her brother,
but can't seem to ask
what she needs to know.
What was it like
to be called to the blackboard,
a pointer in his pants,
his own name dribbled
on the dotted line
of his zipper?
She wonders how a boy
learns to mutiny against
that squat schoolmaster
rapping at his knuckles.

She names it "Blanche,"
something shriveled
and frightened. But that's
only half right. It will work
for the Jekyll, but not
the Hyde between her legs.
She needs a name for the times
it follows its head, for when
it pulls her from sleep,
demands attention.

So our hero and Blanche
go out one day, one driving,
the other barking directions.
Where one wants to turn left,
the other reaches up, prehensile,
and grabs the wheel. Dicks
are aggressive but shy.
They want only a place to rest,
warm and out of the light.
The day is centered around
their need. They are like children.
They are a puppy that waits
by the door, its own leash
trailing from its mouth.

Printed in the Fall/Winter 2001 issue of CLR
Karen Craigo

Karen Craigo teaches composition at Bowling Green State University, where she is poetry editor of Mid-American Review.

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Cimarron Review, and others, and she recently received an Individual Artists Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

You can find Karen Craigo on the web at:
—  Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University
—  Gravity
—  Gravity
—  Eclectica
—  Poetry Magazine
—  Thomas Merton Center Foundation

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