2018 Gauntlet Participant: Susan Stephens

 

“Honesty and a lack of pretension. An emotional connection.”

 

New Lovers

I’m getting around

keeping my own hours, leaving

lights on to see, touching,

feeling in new ways

I like it.

 

Last year I went to bed with a painter

and poet from India who

begin English at five years old

short deft brushes

long tantric whispers

dissolved my confines of love

redrew a fiery

panorama

 

Last month I went to bed with one of six

siblings fluent in Spanish three

ex-wives too many

blood

too much blood

I couldn’t even finish

 

Last week I went to bed with the son

of a holocaust survivor

where no amount of stroking

could silence shrieks

or release pent up

horrors of power taking

and taking and

taking

 

Last night I went to bed with a black man

who wrote a letter for his son

to own his own body

I quivered at invented disparity

my vanilla privileged

skin to his chocolate

appropriated

flesh

 

My lovers vary from hard to soft

back, none needing

a pillow or some tongue

Bembo, Bulmer

Times New Roman, Eurostile Black

taking turns occupying

your side of the bed

 

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Susan Stephens is a paradox as a Nationally Certified ASL Interpreter for the Deaf with a BA in music. Living in two worlds has aided her sprouting writing career via connection seeking. Creating justice, joy, compassion, and peace is her daily endeavor. She is known for hiding bizarre items in homes when visiting, and trying any food labeled “new” or “limited time.” Susan lives in Richmond, KY with her family.

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