lauren bender


You came to me a boy within words,
flirting between the lines of fiction.

I invented what you were, though never
clearly. You stayed the blur, the smudge

of everything fitting to a nice piece
for once. I could see your smile

even though your face was full
of fingers, always flying like brilliant

tap-dancers talking in rhythmic code.
I was that same kind of hazy to you,

that remote and featureless erotica.
No one complains that their favorite character

can’t give them a blowjob, or won’t.
Whatever they think that would feel like

is just another thread in the subtext,
quietly whispering its excited thoughts.

We’re all disembodied in the beginning,
making passes at our belts and buttons

that we play off later, timid sweetness
serving as training wheels in our awkward

advances to a combined full-voiced whine.
Somewhere in the pages of practice we revised

those hungry parts that had not known
how to be effortless and then left them

as a footnote to go back to later
once everything else was understood.

As of 2014: Lauren Bender is a graduate of Green Mountain College where she earned her BFA in Writing and served as co-editor of the literary magazine Reverie. She has recently had work published in Barbaric Yawp and showcased in Poultney Poetry Downtown, a local community celebration of writing organized by Stone Valley Arts. She currently resides in Vermont with her wife and cat.