Leveler Poetry Journal
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Ungloved hands

deep in developing fluid,

shaking a cylinder full of film

in the humming whiteness

of the photography lab, you discover

the sexual fantasy.


Silver curves surface in your dark

imagination, tender moonscapes of skin

lapsing into shadow, a glacial slide

of muzzy stomachs and thighs—


A hand on your shoulder

and you nearly scream.

It’s your grizzled professor,

his breath reeking of nicotine

and black cherry granola bar.


Sorry, you say. I’ll use protection next time,

by which you mean, you’ll wear gloves,

except you won’t do that either.


You’re going to dunk your hands

in those warm wet chemicals

and return to those secret islands

of flesh, those bodies yours

yet not your own.

Rita Feinstein