Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

[Two Poems]

by L. J. Morin

From Shunga

In the still, marble hush
of the museum gift shop,
the heavy book of Japanese erotic art
squeaked when we opened it—Anne and I
at thirteen, best friends
racing each other into adulthood
like two raindrops zigzagging
on a speeding windshield.
What we saw on the slick pages was so strange
we stopped breathing:

        a man with a cock the size of his thigh,
        a woman with rivers gushing 
        out of a hairy organ
        we couldn’t recognize,

        the man’s eyes crossed, 
        his mouth a twisted loop of black ribbon,

        the woman’s tiny pursed lips and slitted eyes.

In the corner of my vision, Anne’s straight blonde hair 
shook invisibly with the effort
of not reacting; I
could feel the dust motes
settling on my glasses while I stared. Was it of this
that we had been dreaming in our ignorance
as we twisted alone in our adolescent sheets
seducing our pillows night after night
with devastating practice kisses? This looked like hell, 
like Hieronymus Bosch on a bad green tea trip 
refigured by Utamaro in an oriental Gehenna 
crowded with patterns of spinning kimonos 
and snaky pubic lines. Nobody had told us sexual love
would look this way—a grotesque and graphic, acrobatic, 
sharp in focus, all too conscious,
wet and smutty romp. Somehow the book got closed.
Somehow I forgot all about it, until now.


Sonnet for the Lizards

A lizard sees another lizard pass—
alluring swish of tail, a wink of gleaming
scales—and plunges through the tickling grass
pursuing, thinks, “Ooo-ee! I must be dreaming!
That’s the one for me!” From eye to thigh
a giddy wave of hormones crests and surges.
No voice of reason in its head to cry,
“Be good! Control your momentary urges!
It should be obvious to you: That one
would only disappoint you, bring you pain.
Besides, you’ve got a lizard of your own
at home.” No, there’s no taming lizard brain,
squatting there atop the lizard’s spine—
Correction: I mean yours. I mean, mine.



SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

L. J. Morin’s

poems have appeared in Connecticut Review, Floating Bridge Review, Alimentum, Urban Action, Tattoo Highway, and elsewhere. A native of San Diego, she earned an M.A. in English from San Francisco State University and now lives in Seattle, where she writes software specs for money and poetry for love.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury