Even Bruce Lee had nipples. They were small,
but they were there all right, alive with nerves,
a tender nub to guard each pectoral
against the manly world. And he had curves,
gracing the line of cheek and lip, of thigh
and buttock. Man would be too hard, too fierce,
if there weren’t certain spots on every guy
vulnerable enough to pinch or pierce;
pretty enough to make a priest believe
that every Adam shares a rib with Eve;
engendered softly as a question mark,
for seven weeks a shrimplike, whitish curl
of possibility, still in the dark,
before his body learns he’s not a girl.
Rose Kelleher’s first book of poems, Bundle o’ Tinder, won the 2007 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and was published by Waywiser Press in 2008. Her work has appeared recently in Anti-, The Chimaera, First Things, Umbrella and Soundzine.
Editor’s note: This sonnet by a former 14 by 14 panelist was submitted in the open process and selected via our standard “blind” assessment.