Sex Shop Sestina – by Gene Twaronite

He brought me to the New York flower show
at the Coliseum, but another kind of flowering
awaited me in the 42nd street windows
filled with playful outré objects
to entertain every colossal desire
of an endless erotic childhood.

My dad never talked of that childhood
or what to expect. All he could do was show
me a glimpse of that world of desire
awaiting at lust’s first flowering
through the whispering objects
in the windows.

Through those stained-glass windows
I could see only dimly the childhood
I was about to enter. I can still picture one of the objects,
a hot water bottle shaped like a naked woman, a peep show
of sudden flowering
awareness of it as an instrument of desire.

I began to see these blazes of desire
everywhere, popping up like multi-colored windows
of files and programs flowering
on the backlit screen of my new childhood.
Inside was the real show
I conjured up from these objects.

That my dad, ever faithful husband, could view these objects
with the same eyes of desire
as mine was the precious magic show
he would leave me: how to look through windows
and cherish each tingle of a childhood
perpetually flowering.

For the flowering
continues long after the objects
of our human love are consummated, and a second childhood
begins. And now I see the shocking lewd books of desire
I once found hidden under his mattress as windows
into the life of the father he could not show.

Spring was in full flowering at the Coliseum, but the bloom of desire
I saw on my dad’s face as he gazed upon the objects in the windows
is the childhood memory I carry: our secret sex show.

Gene TwaroniteGene Twaronite’s first poetry collection “Trash Picker on Mars” (Kelsay Books) was the winner of the 2017 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Arizona poetry. Recent poetry collections include “The Museum of Unwearable Shoes” and “Shopping Cart Dreams.” (Kelsay Books). Follow more of his writing