Winter Nights

by John Milbury-Steen

In winter we are in those fronts that bring
stratus that is languorous as cats
on that horizon bed. In bed we sing
in purrs against each other and we linger
within each other's heat eight hours long
in level sex, and not the climb to bang.

The smoke detector on the ceiling sniffs
something subliminal but can't tell if
our bodies might be burning in the buff
under the covers, making the room unsafe.
Still we embrace and cannot get enough
without combustion that would set it off.

The motion detector, which cannot refrain
from watching the motion of a man and woman,
seeing our bodies interlocked as one,
expects that old familiar up and down,
peeps, but can't distinguish breathing from
a subtle, never coming sexual drone.

The lie detector, looking hard for sweat,
its sensors in a place that may get hot,
interrogates each body on the spot,
"Are you two currently doing it or not?"

and reads the negative as needles rest,
as cuddling tricks the lie detector test.

© 2007 by John Milbury-Steen


About the Author

John Milbury-Steen served in the Peace Corps in Liberia, West Africa, worked as an artificial intelligence programmer in Computer Based Education, and currently teaches English as a Second Language at Temple University. He has published in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Hellas, Blue Unicorn, Kayak, The Listening Eye, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, The Piedmont Literary Review, Scholia Satyrica and Shenandoah. His poetry website is:


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