Not Everything is Sex

By Lauren Whitehead

Okay
Tell that to the palm

of this Black man’s hand
ever so slightly cupped

and carrying in its bend
the finger tips of another

Black man, both of them
arms stretching upward

toward the sky, measuring
their reach against one another

on a basketball court
in Brooklyn, in spring

Okay
Spring

And when I say spring
I mean bee-buzzing-near-a-pink-bud-

almost-bursting spring
tantric spring

everyone-outside-in-three-
quarter-sleeves-despite-the-virus-

buzzing-near-our-tongues
spring So you can’t tell me

it’s not sex Cause it’s not not sex
The risk of all this tenderness

all this giving of ourselves
all this inside on the outside

open, vulnerable I know sex
when I see it and I see it

everywhere: lips on the nipple
of a soft serve, an arm fist deep in

a grocery store shelf, digging
for the last can of garbanzo beans

It’s not not a ménage à trois
these three men snuggled

in the front seat of a moving
van, singing bachata

dancing from the hips up
in the window, open

throats open, their whole necks
to the wind, reckless

reckless, I tell you, full on
abandon So say what you will

about transmission
about fluid, skin to skin

about the necessary things
that make the deed the deed

I don’t care cause it’s spring
and I’ve never seen anything so intimate

as this touch still taken
in the face of an apocalypse

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