Sholeh Johnston
The Velvet Man

Sugar-brown molasses water;
smack lips and swirl the glass, it
the endless meetings pass:
she dips her tongue
into freedom
offered by the hand of the Velvet Man.

Whose hand?
The Velvet Man
whose hand led her from room
to windowless room;
entrusted her
to the Velvet Men she kissed
and made to love like
the ripples of a frozen lake.
The Velvet Men
pissed, smelling
of rubber and fleshy
like plastecine,
their hands buzzing;
obese bumble bees in sight of

Rum, it
the endless meetings pass
it helps as
she sits refrigerated in the past.