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Kissing Marilyn Monroe

Honorable Mention — 2016 Poetry Contest

I’m sitting on a park bench noodling lines
from a Billy Stayhorn song, Something
to Live For, “watching the noon crowds,”
when a woman bumps me with her hip.
“How are you,” she asks, and I choke
on a high note, “Marilyn.” She smiles
the same shy smile she offered at an eating
place in Jersey, when I made her laugh
with a silly story. “You could kiss me,”
she says, and I plant one on each cheek.
“The lips,” she says, and “oh my,” she leans
forward, humming a phrase from Besame
Mucho, and we kiss slowly, savoring each
moment like a first taste of peach brandy,
rum cake and hot fudge, or sweet potato pie.
She parts her lips, sighs, smiles. I’m all
“oohs” and “ahhs” and we press lips,
twirl tongues, nibble with teeth; an embrace
announces her breasts. She rubs my ear
with her thumb, seats herself on my legs,
one arm around my neck, kissing napes,
touching the notch that connects collar bones,
and the kisses sizzle. We’re posed like Rodin’s
models for The Kiss, immortality in marble,
lips stuck together, an oxygen concentrator
thrumming away in a dark room, moments
from a dream lined, written, and delivered.

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Richard Roe is the Council of Wisconsin Writers's former appointee to the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. A retired Legislative Analyst and editor from Middleton, Roe began writing poetry in his mid-30s and has kept at it ever since. A preacher's kid who's lived in Ohio and New Jersey, he has a background in history and economics.

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