If I fantasize you with mouth-open and heavy-lidded in the bathtub
Touching yourself, (yes, slowly, there),
In the soapbubbles
That crackle when your back arches,
Though I readily admit
When I say IF I mean Yes, yes,
Whoever called them ‘lips’
Wasted no words,
(This is getting harder for you, I know), IF
I fantasize this
Do not blame me too much,
For I (like you?) have mostly kept
My monster indoors lest he be pursued
Through little mountains
By beerbellied villagers with torches
When your back arches.

© 1995, Stan Rice

Stan Rice was for many years associated with San Francisco State University, as Professor of English and Creative Writing, Assistant Director of the Poetry Center, and Chairman of the Creative Writing Department. His third book of poems won the Edgar Allen Poe Award of the Academy of American Poets, which acknowledged the continuing achievement of a poet under forty-five. He also received a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His two most recent books are Singing Yet: New And Selected Poems (1992, Knopf), and Fearing Itself (1995, Knopf). He lives in New Orleans.