by Timothy West

When his penis failed him for the first time,
just drooped between his thighs like a three-day
old punch balloon from the dollar store,
and she pulled it a couple times, looked at him
with a combination of pity and regret, and told
him that everything was fine, it was all okay,
he – a pot-bellied journalist in a checkered robe
who still jokes with buddies about drinking
they did as undergrads – was only in a position
to assume she was telling the truth. He felt

very old
and very tired.

As he shuffled to his desk to tap out another piece
of fiction for the front page of the paper, his wife –
portly forty-ish attention whore whose interests
steered toward intellectual when she came
out brown-haired and plain – masturbated herself,
dreaming of the half-Latino classmate she longed for
at age nineteen.

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