ON A FORMER STUDENT’S SPREAD
IN HUSTLER MAGAZINE
She seemed much happier in the nude
with her fingers clamped to stiff nipples
and legs spread wide in a claw foot tub
than she ever did in my classroom,
half-listening to me blather about Blake,
her head down on the desktop.
As I search for lint in her bellybutton
and dirt behind her airbrushed ears,
I realize she would not know Hamlet
if he were to show up at her photo shoot
with his foil’s tip dipped in poison
and drawn to some greasy photographer’s throat.
Even if the prince were to introduce
himself by name, nothing would register,
as if “Hamlet” was plucked from a phonebook.
But she couldn’t miss the look in his eyes
when she glanced back from her pose
to find him ready to cry or scream.
—from Rattle #25, Summer 2006