Conversation with Slugs and Sarah

By Jennifer Chang Jennifer Chang
Up late watching slug porn, you confess
you had a boyfriend who could spin you

like that, slug grace and slug ballet—we don’t
touch the topic of slime—and those eyes

dangling from tentacle tips must be a
kind of love or lust, sighting farther and

nearer all at once. (But are those eyes?)  
Slug sublimity suggests love’s a drag,

touch that lingers and leaves a wet trail of
memory and... What did we do before

YouTube? Boob tube. Boobs we have none; slugs,
of course, don’t care, can’t tell girl from boy,

(being, you know, hermaphrodites), and only
want flesh to fly. Forget their infamous

languor—here’s litheness in loving, buoyant
miracles of want, one slug spiraling

on the axis of another like a globe
slapped by an insolent hand. Neither old

nor young, we’re familiar with sluggishness,
too tired to explain why nothing makes us

spin like that: a-swirl, a pirouette, a gyre!
It’s either fucking or marriage, I say,

saying more than I mean. Why can’t lust be
love and love be lust? you’re always asking,

even now as the slugs begin their sluggish
withdrawal—each complete in love and lust;

each mother and father to what they’ve made
together; each alone, content, and free.

Source: Poetry (January 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2011
 Jennifer  Chang

Biography

Poet and scholar Jennifer Chang was born in New Jersey. She is a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where she is a PhD candidate.
 
Chang’s lyrical poems often explore the shifting boundaries between the outer world and the self. Chang’s debut poetry collection, The History of Anonymity (2008), was selected for the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Shenandoah/ Glasgow Prize for . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Couplet

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